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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday accused the United States of “merciless economic terrorism” and ruled out a sit-down with President Trump unless crippling economic sanctions against Tehran are lifted.
“Our response to any negotiations under sanctions is negative,” Rouhani said during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We will never negotiate with an enemy that seeks to make Iran surrender with the weapon of poverty.”
He added that Iran has “resisted the most merciless economic terrorism” from a nation that is engaging in “international piracy” and said his country would “not tolerate provocative intervention of foreigners” and promised to respond “strongly to any transgression of our security and territorial integrity.”
Rouhani also said that security in the Persian Gulf would only be guaranteed when Iran’s national security is as well.
“Our region is on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire,” he said.
Rouhani’s speech came a day after Trump took his turn at the U.N. General Assembly, blasting what he called Iran’s “bloodlust” and rising aggression. The U.S. has blamed Tehran for recent strikes on Saudi oil fields that have rattled the Middle East and global oil markets. Iran has denied being behind the attacks and said they were solely the work of Yemeni rebels.
Just minutes before Rouhani’s speech, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. would impose sanctions on some Chinese entities for knowingly transporting oil from Iran.
“The more Iran lashes out, the greater our pressure will be,” Pompeo said during a speech on the sidelines of the U.N. assembly.
Ahead of Wednesday’s speech, Rouhani indicated he wasn’t willing to negotiate with the U.S. while the sanctions, imposed in the wake of Trump pulling out from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, were in place.
On Tuesday, Rouhani sat down with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and blamed Trump for damaging relations between the two nations.
Rouhani said he and Trump needed to “create mutual trust, and the trust that is something that Mr. Trump took away from this framework.”
“We had an agreement. Mr. Trump exited without a valid justification, and illegally, from an international agreement,” he said.