TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iranians should not allow U.S. President Donald Trump’s "maximum pressure” approach to harm national unity ahead of parliamentary elections, President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday.
"This is a matter of national interests. And we should all stand up and not allow Trump to succeed,” Rouhani told a gathering of governors and heads of provincial governments here.
"We should not let the White House terrorists succeed; they are terrorizing Iran’s relationship with the world banks. We have to be careful, they are terrorizing people’s trust in the system,” he added.
President Rouhani cited a campaign by the U.S. as well as the occupying regime of Israel and "reactionary Arab states” to undermine Iran’s economic growth
He touched on the U.S. withdrawal from a historic 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and other states, saying the pullout came after the Islamic Republic experienced its highest level of economic growth after the implementation of the agreement.
The U.S. abandoned the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018 even though the accord had been approved by the United Nations Security Council.
Washington followed on its withdrawal by reimposing the draconian sanctions that the deal had lifted on Iran.
Rouhani also touched on the U.S. assassination in Baghdad in early January of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani -- the Middle East’s most revered anti-terror military figure.
Trump’s move against the JCPOA, his order to assassinate Gen. Soleimani, and the U.S. president’s plans to target the Iranian people’s welfare, unity, and national integrity "all follow the same direction,” the Iranian president said.
"They want to tell the world that Iran is a forlorn and isolated island. They want to create a permanent wall around Iran,” he said, adding, "We should not let this happen. They want to separate us from the world.”
The president also urged a high turnout in the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for February 21.
The people should be watchful of attempts to harm their trust in the establishment, he said.
Rouhani also highlighted the need for diversity and competitiveness in the upcoming elections. He said the elections must be inclusive meaning all parties, irrespective of their political orientation, need to be represented in the election process.
He called on Iranians of all stripes to vote, "even if... there are shortcomings in elections”.
"Sometime I may not want to vote for some reason, but some other time I may not have enough trust to go to the ballot box; this is very dangerous,” he said.
"I am calling on our nation to vote,” Rouhani said. "Even if you have criticism over issues and problems, please cast your vote.”