Amid rising tensions with the United States, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday struck a defiant stance against US sanctions, renewing his threat to cut off international oil sales from the Gulf. Speaking at a televised rally in Semnan province, Rouhani said, "America should know... it is not capable of preventing the export of Iran's oil" adding that "If it ever tries to do so... no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf".
It's been a quite long time now that Iran has been threatening to blockade the Gulf in response to international pressure but has not carried out the same so far. Earlier in July, Rouhani threatened to close the gulf after US President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull out of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal in May and reimposed sanctions, including an oil embargo, on the Islamic Republic. US officials said they vowed to reduce Iran's oil sales to zero, but has granted temporary waivers to eight countries.
Rouhani, however, said that United States would not succeed in cutting Iran's economic ties with the region and the world. "No hyperinflation, no massive unemployment will threaten us. People should stop saying such things in the papers," he told during his speech at the northern Iranian city of Shahroud.
Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri also said on Tuesday that U.S. sanctions were hitting vulnerable people in Iran. "When (Americans) say their target is the Iranian government and there won't be pressure on the sick, the elderly and the weak in society, it's a lie," Jahangiri added, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
The latest inflation report from Iran's central bank says food prices rose 56 percent year-on-year in October.
Rouhani acknowledged there were "some problems", but said these would be addressed in the new budget plan, which is scheduled to be presented on December 16. He said the government would maintain subsidies on essential goods and increase public sector wages and pensions by 20 percent.