President Hassan Rouhani said the former US administration put forth its utmost efforts but failed to bend Iran to its “disgraceful will,” as Iran’s people emerged victorious in the “clash of wills”.
“The Americans sought to do something to bring about the [Islamic] establishment’s collapse, but our people endured the sufferings over the last three years, and the establishment has grown more powerful today compared to three years ago in light of the sacrifices of this great and resilient people,” Rouhani said on Thursday.
He was referring to the term of ex-US president Donald Trump, who initiated the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran by imposing the “toughest ever” sanctions aimed at paralyzing the country’s economy, Press TV wrote.
“The new rulers of the White House repeatedly announce that the policy of [economic] war and maximum pressure pursued by the former US administration has only led to defeat. In other words, our people has achieved a great victory,” he added.
Rouhani said although the Iranian people have gone through a very difficult time, especially economically, because of the US sanctions, they achieved brilliant victories in moral, political and legal arenas.
In 2015, Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China – signed the historic nuclear deal – formally named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – which was ratified in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
However, Trump unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and reinstated the anti-Iran sanctions that had been lifted by the deal.
The administration of new US President Joe Biden has acknowledged that Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy against Iran failed to achieve each and every single one of its aims, but it has yet to take practical measures to reverse course.
Call for lifting sanctions
During a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, Rouhani said the US must honor its commitments and lift sanctions on Iran if it seeks a diplomatic end to the stalemate surrounding the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement.
“If we are after diplomacy, the path is clear… It’s the lifting of sanctions and the US fulfilling of its commitments, and there is no other option,” Rouhani told Johnson.
He said while the new US administration has voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear deal and implement its commitments, it has failed to take any practical measure whatsoever.
Biden has promised to reenter the JCPOA and called for negotiations with Iran on the JCPOA, saying they wish to “lengthen and strengthen the deal”, and use the JCPOA as a platform to “negotiate follow-on agreements” – all of which have been dismissed by Tehran as long as the US refuses to rejoin the pact and fulfill its obligations, which include lifting of sanctions on Iran.
Rouhani pointed to the fact that the US withdrawal was a unilateral action, saying they did not negotiate their way out of the JCPOA, and therefore, do not need to negotiate their way into the deal.
“International cooperation has been damaged as a result of Trump’s policies, and unfortunately the United Nations and the Security Council have not been able to function properly and impartially during this period, and now it is time to work together to address such a shortcoming,” he noted.
The president laid out Iran’s unwavering policy as an “action-for-action” approach with regard to JCPOA commitments, saying that “Iran cannot and should not be the only party paying the price of preserving the JCPOA.”
He explained that all of Iran’s measures have been taken within the framework of the JCPOA with the aim of bringing a state of equilibrium to the deal in order to preserve it, making a reference to Iran’s reduction of its commitments under the JCPOA in response to the US withdrawal and harsh sanctions.
Johnson said while the UK “remains committed to making the Iran nuclear deal a success, Iran must stop all its nuclear activity that breaches the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and come back into compliance”.
He "stressed the importance of Iran seizing the opportunity presented by the United States’ willingness to return to the deal if Iran comes back into compliance,” a statement from Johnson’s office said.