DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran will sell its oil and break the sanctions imposed by the United States on its vital energy and banking sector, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday.
PHOTO FILE: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a press conference on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the US headquarters in New York, United States, the September 26, 2018. REUTERS / Brendan Mcdermid / File Photo
"America wanted to reduce Iran's oil sales to zero … but we will continue to sell our oil … to break the sanctions," Rouhani told a live television meeting on public television .
The United States announced on Friday that it would temporarily allow eight importers to continue buying Iranian oil when Monday reinstated sanctions to force Tehran to limit its nuclear activities, missiles and regional activities.
China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey – all major importers of Iranian oil – are among the eight countries on the verge of benefiting from temporary exemptions from the sanctions so that prices crude oil is not destabilized.
The reinstatement of the sanctions is part of a larger effort by US President Donald Trump to force Iran to limit its nuclear and missile programs, as well as its support for alternative forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.
"Today, the enemy (the United States) is targeting our economy … the main target of sanctions is our people," Rouhani said.
In May, Trump terminated Iran's nuclear deal signed in 2015 with six powers, and Washington re-imposed the first round of sanctions on Iran in August.
This agreement saw the lifting of most of the international financial and economic sanctions imposed on Iran in exchange for Tehran's reduction of its disputed nuclear activity under US surveillance.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the sanctions would come back on Monday "are the harshest sanctions ever applied to the Islamic Republic of Iran".
Iran's religious leaders, however, dismissed concerns over the impact of the sanctions on the country's economy.
"It's an economic war against Iran but … America must learn that it can not use the language of force against Iran … We are ready to resist any pressure, "said Rouhani.
For the agreement to remain in force, the remaining parties to the Iranian nuclear deal are trying to maintain trade with Tehran despite skepticism, which is possible despite the sanctions imposed by the United States to stifle Iranian oil sales.
Last month, diplomats told Reuters that the new EU mechanism to facilitate the payment of Iranian oil exports is expected to be legally in place by November 4, but will only be operational once it is over. 39, at the beginning of next year.
However, they warned that no country had offered to host the entity, which was delaying the process.
"We are in regular contact with the other signatories of the nuclear deal … setting up a mechanism to continue trade with the European Union will take time", Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told reporters at a weekly press conference in Tehran.
He also said the sanctions imposed by the United States were part of a psychological war sparked by Washington against Tehran, adding that "US economic pressure on Iran is futile".
Writing of Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Louise Heavens, William Maclean