Rouhani made the remarks on Thursday during an address to the 14th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which was held through videoconference, Press TV reported.
“The US, as the one who violated the deal, shall lift all sanctions and take practical steps in order to be able to return to the JCPOA,” Rouhani argued, using an acronym for the landmark nuclear accord signed between Iran and six countries in 2015.
He said the Islamic Republic of Iran will reciprocate “action with action.”
“The return path to the JCPOA is straightforward, and if the US government is determined to return, there is no need for negotiations,” the president added.
Recently, US President Joe Biden has been facing growing pressure to fulfill his presidential campaign promise to rejoin the JCPOA, which was scrapped by his predecessor, Donald Trump, in pursuit of a “maximum pressure” policy against the Islamic Republic.
In recent days, the Biden administration has begun to criticize the so-called maximum pressure policy again and again, with US State Department spokesman Ned Price saying the policy failed to “deliver a so-called better deal,” as promised by the Trump administration.
However, the new administration has stopped short of revoking the policy, and instead, it has kept the sanctions in place as leverage to push Tehran into a new round of talks, which Iran has emphatically rejected.
“Allow me to announce that the US unlawful unilateral measures have failed to bring the great Iranian nation to its knees,” Rouhani asserted, adding that Iran relied on its domestic capabilities to ward off the impact of US sanctions.
"This nation has relied on its domestic capabilities and has even made breakthroughs and achieved great achievements including in the fight against COVID-19 and its impacts. A vivid example is the production of coronavirus vaccine by Iranian scientists, where we are prepared to extend cooperation with other countries, particularly ECO countries," the Iranian president said.
Rouhani maintained that it was for Iran’s “wisdom” and “insight” that the JCPOA managed to survive the US efforts to destroy it.
“In the last four years, the international community has witnessed the US' illegal approach and a full-scale economic war against Iran,” the chief executive said, adding, “These cruel and illegal sanctions have inflicted irreparable damage to Iran’s government and people.”
The president highlighted the international community’s disappointing failure to stand up to unilateral measures and unlawful sanctions, which he said have targeted the countries’ capabilities in their battle against the deadly disease.
“The great powers’ depriving other nations of fundamental rights as well as their disrespect for international organizations necessitate a response from the like-minded countries including through strengthening cooperation and creating a united front against these challenges,” he noted.
A US-backed draft resolution that was to be brought to the UN nuclear watchdog’s ongoing Board of Governors meeting in Vienna on Thursday by Britain, France and Germany has been dropped by the E3 due to the diplomatic efforts made by the Iranian officials in Tehran, Vienna, and the member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) BoGs.
It had been revealed to the media in recent days that the E3 were to discuss the US-backed anti-Iran draft resolution at the IAEA’s Board of Governors ongoing meeting. The plan was expected to face a vote on Friday.
Tehran has repeatedly announced that such a resolution would effectively end the temporary agreement that the IAEA chief worked out with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) last month to mitigate what Grossi calls the "huge loss" of some inspections.
On February 26, AEOI Chief Ali Akbar Salehi warned that recordings from monitoring equipment that the IAEA installed at the country’s nuclear sites will be deleted if the United States does not lift its unilateral sanctions within the next three months.
Iran stopped its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol on February 23. The halt came under the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed last December by the Iranian Parliament, and added to Iran’s previous steps away from the JCPOA, in response to Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 and the other parties’ failure to fulfill their commitments.
In this regard, the IAEA and the AEOI reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding in February, under which the latter would continue to use cameras to record information at its nuclear sites for three months, but it would retain the information exclusively. If the US sanctions are lifted completely within that period, Iran will provide the footage information to the UN nuclear watchdog, otherwise, it will be deleted forever.