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Thursday, 26 September 2019

Iran president accuses US of 'merciless economic terrorism' at UNGA 74

Iran's president has accused the United States of "merciless economic terrorism" and of engaging in "international piracy".


Hassan Rouhani told the UN General Assembly that security in the Gulf can only be guaranteed when Iran's own security is clear.
He made it clear he would not negotiate on Iran's nuclear programme until there are changes to the sanctions currently hitting his country hard.
Last week, President Donald Trump said the US imposed new sanctions on Iran's central bank following Tehran's alleged involvement in the drone and cruise missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities.
Mr Rouhani told the delegates in New York: "Our response to any negotiation under sanctions is negative."
He added: "[Iran has] resisted the most merciless economic terrorism," from a nation that is engaging in "international piracy".
His combative speech came a day after Mr Trump used his platform at the assembly to call Iran "one of the greatest threats" to the planet.
No surprise, it didn't take long for President Rouhani to get on to America, and when he did, he took aim and kept firing.
After paying "homage to the freedom seekers" of the Middle East (read the Houthis, Hezbollah, Assad regime), he then turned his ire on the "most merciless economic terrorism" imposed on Iran by Washington.
It was "international privacy", he said and his country would "never negotiate under sanctions".
But whether Iran's pre-occupation with sanctions is an indication it is hurting, isn't obvious.
It's possible the White House underestimates the resilience of Iran to hold out, well beyond the level of pain most of us in the West would tolerate.
Over the weekend, it looked like a retaliatory strike for the the attack on the Saudi oil facilities was a possibility, even likely.
That we made it to the diplomatic festival that is the UN General Assembly without one, gave us hope.
Earlier, at an unscheduled meeting in one of the many corridors, Emmanuel Macron saw an opportunity.
"If you leave the country without meeting with President Trump, honestly it would be a loss of opportunity," he implored the Iranian president.
The meeting never happened.
Iran's behaviour this past summer has been brazen but gone unpunished. T
ehran has boxed Washington, Riyadh and arguably London, into a corner. They don't know whether to hit back with a slap across the wrists, or do nothing for fear of war. Iran is emboldened.
Mr Rouhani spoke of "peace" and "hope" - even the most dispassionate observer cannot expect either those when Iran is willing to mine ships, impound tankers, imprison innocents and launch airstrikes on its neighbour.
"Our region is on the verge of collapse. A single blunder can cause a big fire," said Mr Rouhani.
He's not wrong, and this week has done nothing to change that.

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