GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States has chosen the wrong path in reimposing sanctions on Iran and will be defeated, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, according to the Tasnim news agency.
Washington reinstated sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry on Nov. 5 as it seeks to force the Islamic Republic to accept tougher curbs on its nuclear programme, halt its development of ballistic missiles as well as its support for proxy forces in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
“The Americans will definitely be defeated in this path. The path they have chosen is wrong and incorrect,” Rouhani said. “If they are being honest and they are looking for regional security, this is not the path. If they are being honest and respect the Iranian people, this is not the path.”
He added, “They have made themselves more infamous in the world and in front of our people. It’s clear for everyone that the incorrect and cruel sanctions of America will harm the dear and honourable people of our country.”
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that Washington intends to step up enforcement of sanctions on Iran and “squeeze them very hard.” Bolton also reiterated that the United States aims to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero.
That objective will not be achieved, Rouhani said.
“They thought they could completely cut Iran’s oil. But in recent days they understood that this is not practical or possible, both because of their internal issues and because of the price of oil,” Rouhani said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).
He added, “More than anything the Americans understood that we will sell our oil...We have so many ways and paths to sell oil that their sanctions are ineffective.”
President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions after withdrew the United States from world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, reached before he took office. The other signatories - Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China remain committed to the deal. Iran has said it will stay in it only if the other powers preserve its economic benefits against U.S. pressure.
Iranian officials and some independent analysts said last week that Iran is likely to ride out the storm from U.S. oil sanctions, suffering recession but no economic meltdown, thanks to rising crude prices and deepening divisions between the United States and other major powers.
Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Mark Heinrich