TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani Friday dismissed new U.S. sanctions as unable to break the republic’s "resistance” and said Washington had already done all it could to pressure Tehran.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran’s banking sector Thursday by designating 18 major Iranian banks to "stop illicit access to U.S. dollars.”
"The Americans have so far done all they could against the great nation of Iran,” Rouhani said, according to his official website.
"They cannot break the resistance of the Iranian nation with these inhumane actions,” he added. According to Rouhani, the U.S. administration is following "domestic aims” by such "political-propaganda attempts.”
The sanctions are part of Washington’s policy of "maximum pressure” against Tehran. They were reimposed after Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from a landmark nuclear accord with world powers and Iran.
The U.S. claims that transactions involving humanitarian goods such as food and medicine are exempt and that sanctions are "directed at the regime.”
Yet statements from experts and right groups point to the dire humanitarian consequences and the suffering sanctions impose on the Iranian people. Rouhani said the sanctions are "attempts to create serious obstacles in fund transfers for medicine and food” and called them "cruel, terrorist and inhumane.”
He also called on the world’s "human rights advocates” to condemn the move.
"All countries witness that America’s attempts are completely against international laws and regulations, and in the time of the coronavirus, are against human rights,” Rouhani said.
Head of Iran’s central bank, Abdolnasser Hemmati, said the U.S. sanctions have created barriers for importing medicine and food to Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif arrived in China
to discuss bilateral ties with his Chinese counterpart, IRNA said. Zarif on Thursday reacted angrily to the latest designations by the U.S., calling them a "crime against humanity” at a time of global crisis.
Since withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Trump has steadily increased pressure on Iran by imposing sanctions on its oil sales, blacklisting top government officials and martyring a top Iranian general in a terrorist airstrike.
The Iranian envoy to the United Nations lambasted the maximum pressure campaign as an "example of state terrorism” aimed at creating suffering and social unrest in the country.
Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remark at a meeting of the UN General Assembly’s sixth committee on counter-terrorism on Thursday evening.
"The policy of maximum pressure by the U.S. on Iran is designed to deliberately and indiscriminately target innocent civilians with the aim of creating suffering and hardship, as well as stoking social unrest in accordance with the flawed policy of regime change,” Takht-Ravanchi said.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms, including state terrorism and economic and medical terrorism, which are carried out through unilateral coercive measures,” he added.
Takht-Ravanchi touched on the U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, saying "it is a proven fact that the United States is spreading terrorism not only in our region but almost everywhere in the world”.
"The United States has contributed to the creation of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh through its interventionist policies in our region,” he added. "The country continues to train and supply weapons and explosives to its terrorist agents and partners, including PJAK, Tondar and Jaish ul-Adl, to carry out terrorist attacks in Iran.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry also blasted the latest round of the U.S. sanctions, saying those who favor the Israeli prime minister’s interests over the Americans’ are luring the U.S. president into targeting ordinary Iranian people.
A Washington Post report said on Thursday that the U.S. move to blacklist the entire financial industry of Iran "has been pushed by Israeli officials and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a hawkish U.S. non-profit organization that has advocated for regime change in Iran.”
In a post on his Twitter account, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh referred to the Post report and said, "Frustrated by humiliating failures and futility of ‘maximum pressure’, Bibi-Firsters lure Trump into doubling down on inhumane targeting of ordinary Iranians.”
"The same gang has carelessly gambled with America’s interests and reputation for past 4 years. Once again, they’ll lose,” he added.
According to Bloomberg, the new measures could sharply hinder Iran’s ability to secure supplies of food and medicine at a time the country struggles to contain a resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak.