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Thursday, 21 February 2019

Europe support against US 'rare victory' for Iran: Hassan Rouhani

AFP , Sunday 28 Oct 2018
Hassan Rouhani
File Photo: Iran's president Hassan Rouhani (AFP)
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President Hassan Rouhani said late Saturday that the divisions between the US and Europe over renewed sanctions on Iran were a "rare historical victory" for the Islamic republic.

"If this time last year, we had stated that America would stand against the great nation of Iran... and Europe would stand with Iran and against America, the overwhelming majority of us... would have said that this was pure optimism," Rouhani told lawmakers in a televised address.

"The political victory of the great nation of Iran over the past months is a rare victory in history." 

EU countries have fiercely opposed the decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon their landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions -- the last of which will return on November 5.

Rouhani was addressing parliament for a special session to approve four new ministers covering the portfolios of economy, transport, labour and industry.

He acknowledged Iranians were feeling the economic strain, saying: "All of us understand people are suffering and under pressure. People's lives, in particular those on a fixed income, are very difficult."

But he insisted there were sufficient reserves of basic commodities and foreign currency to weather the storm, even after a record-breaking plunge in the rial over the summer and imminent sanctions on its crucial oil industry.

"We cannot tell our people that because of America's pressure, we cannot do anything. This answer is not acceptable. We cannot tell people that because there are problems with selling our oil, we are unable to manage the country," he said.

He criticized foreign media reports that costs were soaring, despite Iran's own central bank showing food and drink prices had risen 46.5 percent in the year to September. 

"Foreign media lie to people of Iran and say that Iran is the most expensive country people live in," Rouhani said.

Lawmakers were set to vote later on Saturday on whether to approve the four names put forward by Rouhani: Farhad Dejpasand as economy minister, Mohammad Eslami for transport, Reza Rahmani for industry and Mohammad Shariatmadari for labor.

The previous economy and labor ministers were impeached by parliament in August, while the other two resigned last week.

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