Iran president slams US sanctions as 'economic terrorism'

Iran president slams US sanctions as 'economic terrorism'
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has said that US sanctions is harming the country's fight against terrorism.
2 min read
08 December, 2018
Rouhani has slammed US sanctions [AFP]

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said US sanctions were "economic terrorism", as he spoke to delegates from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey at a counter-terrorism conference.

"America's unjust and illegal sanctions against the honourable nation of Iran have targeted our nation in a clear instance of terrorism," Rouhani said in a televised speech. 

"We are facing an all-out assault which is not only threatening our independence and identity but also is bent on breaking our longstanding ties," he added.

US sanctions began on Iran in May, when the US pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran.  A tougher set of sanctions was enforced in November, aimed at economically crippling Tehran.

Rouhani connected recent US economic pressure on countries also attending the conference, to the Iran sanctions.

"When they put pressure on China's trade, we are all harmed... By punishing Turkey, we are all punished. Any time they threaten Russia, we too consider our security to be endangered," he said.

"When they impose sanctions on Iran, they deprive all of us of the benefits of international trade, energy security and sustainable development. And in fact, they impose sanctions on everyone."

Rouhani tried to create a united front against the US. 

"We are here to say that we don't intend to tolerate such insolence."

Rouhani also warned Europe - which has strongly objected to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal - that saying if it did not fight hard enough to retain trade with Iran, terrorism could flourish.

"They should know that by sanctioning Iran, they would harm our ability to fight drugs and terrorism," Rouhani said, referring to Iran's efforts to combat smuggling, particularly from Afghanistan. 

The European Union is working on an establishing "special purpose vehicle", to keep money flowing into Iran and side-step sanctions, but has struggled to find a host since many countries fear repercussions from the Trump administration. 

The conference in Tehran was the second regional meeting on terrorism - the first was held last December in Islamabad.