President Hassan Rouhani said Monday his government will not allow anyone to delay the lifting of sanctions against Iran.
“There are some people who seek to delay the end of sanctions. We will not consent to this for a minute and an hour and we will stand up against them,” Rouhani told reporters during a televised press conference in Tehran.
Rouhani said the removal of sanctions imposed by the United States will mean an end to “economic terrorism”.
“Sanctions must shatter,” he said, stating it is “natural” for the Iranian people to demand such a right.
Rouhani said his government “will do its utmost” to remove “the wrong and cruel sanctions” as soon as possible.
“This is one of the duties of the government.”
US President Donald Trump walked out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed “toughest ever” sanctions on the country through a “maximum pressure” campaign in order to force Iran to negotiate an new accord that covers its missile program and regional activities.
The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was originally signed between Iran and six world powers – the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – and eased international and unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
A year into Trump’s unilateral withdrawal and the ensuing failure of the European parties to the deal to protect Iran’s business ties, Tehran began suspending parts of its nuclear commitments on a step-by-step basis in retaliation.
Rouhani pointed to a bill approved by Iran’s Parliament on December 1 that requires the government to suspend more nuclear commitments unless sanctions are lifted.
He said the government believes that the new law is not helpful.
“This is not my personal opinion. The government unanimously does not regard this motion helpful,” the president said.
US President-elect Joe Biden has promised to rejoin the JCPOA as a starting point for follow-on negotiations if Iran returns to full compliance.
Earlier this month, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Europeans seek a “nuclear deal plus” with Iran that would also cover Iran’s missile program and regional role.
However, Rouhani stressed on Monday that Iran’s missile program is non-negotiable and that Biden is “well aware of it”.
“The Americans were trying for months to add the missile issue (to the nuclear talks) and this was rejected.... And Mr. Biden knows this well,” Rouhani said.
He added that Iran will not give in to any “precondition” for the US return to the JCPOA and that the nuclear pact cannot be renegotiated.
“There is no renegotiation regarding the JCPOA and other issues like regional issues and the missiles have nothing to do with the nuclear program,” the president said.
Rouhani added that Iran “has no problem” with the US returning to the nuclear accord if it “makes up for past mistakes”.
“What is important for us today is that the United States fully returns to its commitments and declares that it has made mistakes,” he said.
President said Iran will resume implementing its JCPOA obligations once other parties, with the US or without the US, live up to their own commitments.