Iran’s Rouhani vows to bypass US sanctions

TEHRAN (AA) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday vowed to bypass newly re-imposed U.S. sanctions on the oil-rich country, according to Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran can and will sell its oil,” Mehr quoted Rouhani as saying during a meeting with officials of the Iranian Economy Ministry.

He said Washington has become more isolated following the U.S. withdrawal of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran in May.

“Almost all countries in the world except for a few are standing with us against the United States, and that is the victory of our diplomacy,” he said.

On Monday, the U.S. administration reinstated all sanctions removed on Iran following a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. The sanctions target Iran’s oil exports, shipping and banks – all core parts of the Iranian economy.

“With people’s help and unity, we have to make Americans understand that they cannot talk to the great Iranian nation with the language of pressure and sanctions. They have to be punished,” Rouhani said.

“What the Americans are doing today is putting pressure merely on the people. Today, we are not the only one who are angry about US policies, even European companies and governments are angry about them,” he added.

“I have told world leaders that we will proudly break the US sanctions this time,” Rouhani said. “Under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, all countries in the world are obliged to take a stance against the US."

U.S. officials say they seek to "alter" Iranian behavior with the sanctions, and have been leaking out a stream of 12 demands it wants to see Iran agree to in exchange for re-lifting the economic penalties.

The U.S. expects to have reduced Iranian oil exports by more than 1 million barrels even before Monday's tranche of economic penalties, which the U.S. has long warned were incoming.

All of the other signatories — China, the European Union, France, Germany, Iran, Russia and the United Kingdom — have remained in the nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal.

The accord provided Iran with billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions in exchange for sweeping curbs on and inspections of its nuclear program.