Rouhani Tells Iranians to Brace for Hard Times
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has warned Iranians they face hard times when new US sanctions take effect on Sunday but said the government would do its best to alleviate them.
Rouhani called the new sanctions that the US is set to impose on Iran’s oil industry "a new injustice" which the government did not fear.
But he added: "In the past few months our people have faced difficult times and it's possible that the next few months will be difficult. But the government will use all its power to reduce these problems."
Washington reimposed a number of sanctions on Iran in May after pulling out of an international 2015 agreement intended to curb Tehran's nuclear program. US officials have said they aim to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero.
US national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the Trump administration wants sanctions on Iran's crude exports to strain Tehran, but does not want to harm countries that depend on the oil.
"We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don't want to harm friends and allies either," Bolton said in a talk at the Hamilton Society.
Bolton said the administration understands that a number of countries, some close geographically to Iran which he visited last week, and others "may not be able to go all the way, all the way to zero immediately."
Iran began selling crude oil to private companies for export on Sunday as part of a strategy to counter the planned sanctions.
“You will not be able to reach any of your goals with regard to Iran’s oil,” Rouhani said, according to The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). “You will not be able to bring it to zero or reduce it.”