Rouhani says national interests should be safeguarded by power, diplomacy

August 26, 2019

TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the national interests should be safeguarded by power and diplomacy.

“I believe we should use any tool to protect our country’s national interests. If I think that meeting someone helps solve the people’s problems, I will not hesitate. The principle is our national interests,” he said during a speech at a ceremony for government’s achievements in developing rural infrastructure. 

He noted, “Hand of power and hand of diplomacy should work together. Those who imagine that one hand is enough to solve problems are mistaken. Both hands should be used. We should use our power and military, security, economic, cultural and political capabilities.”

He added, “They may seize our ship in which case we negotiate to correct their wrong behavior and release the ship and we may also seize their ship with legal reasons. We should work with both hands [power and diplomacy]. It is difficult and troublesome to work with just one hand.” 

On July 4, Britain captured and Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar, claiming it was carrying oil to Syria. Iran responded in kind by seizing a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19.

‘We stand against sanctions’

Rouhani also said that it has been for one year that harshest sanctions have been imposed on Iran, however, the people will stand against sanctions and pressure.

“It has been for one year that they have imposed harshest sanctions on us. We reduce our commitments [under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA] and take retaliatory actions while standing against the sanctions and resisting,” he said.

He added, “So far, we have taken two steps in reducing our commitments and we may continue to do so. However, we give two months to have diplomacy, political activities and negotiations.”

Elsewhere, he said, “Some keep asking what was the result of negotiation with major powers? After the negotiations, we were exporting over 2.8 million barrels of oil, and billions of dollars of our assets came back to the country.”

He added, “Some did not say a word about foreign investments made in our country, but when foreign investors leave the country, they start criticizing about their leaving”.

U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal in May 2018 and returned the previous sanctions and imposed new ones.

So far, Iran has taken two steps in reducing its nuclear commitments: increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium beyond the 300 kilograms allowed under the JCPOA and enriching nuclear fuel to the purity level of 4.5 percent as the Europeans missed a 60-day deadline to devise a concrete mechanism to protect the country from the U.S. sanctions.

Under the agreement, Iran was allowed to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent.

President Hassan Rouhani said on August 14 that Tehran will start the next step of reducing nuclear obligations after the second 60-day deadline.

The third step can include installation of more centrifuges, especially advanced ones.

Rouhani has described Iran’s moves in reducing nuclear commitments step by step as a “wise” decision.

NA

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