Rouhani: New US Leaders Should Respect Others and Compensate Iran
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said the new US administration should restore its global image and end the Trump administration’s “inhumane” treatment of other countries. Speaking on Tuesday [November 10] via video to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), where Iran has observer status, Rouhani said it was “time for new US leaders to understand Americans’ message for change” and reflect this in foreign policy.
“Returning to the rule of law, internationally recognized rules and commitments, respecting the rights of nations, and compensating losses are among the requirements for restoring US global credibility,” Rouhani added, apparently reiterating his earlier call for America to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal while compensating Tehran for the damage of US sanctions imposed since 2018.
“The American people heard the world’s reaction to bullying, violation of laws, breaching international commitments, threatening and sanctioning other nations and decided to change” all that, Rouhani said.
Rouhani’s statements come as Iran’s leaders never acknowledge their own tarnished image as human rights violators and their actions to bar free and fair elections in the country despite decades-long criticism by human rights organizations and UN experts.
In a meeting with his cabinet’s economic team on Tuesday, Rouhani focused on a foreign ministry report on releasing Iranian assets frozen abroad in countries fearful of US secondary sanctions. The president called for closer cooperation between the ministry and the Central Bank, and called for expanding trade with “countries that might be interested in working with Iran.”
This could reflect expectations that fears among Iran’s trading partners of punitive US action may ease with the post-election confusion in the US and a sense that a Biden administration would ease the US financial sanctions that have made it hard for Iran to repatriate oil revenue. Ali Rabiei, the government spokesman told reporters on Tuesday that Iran was “leaving behind the economic war,” an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s ‘maximum pressure.’
“We also hope that the new US administration understands that the policy of exerting pressure on Iran has failed and that not only the hardest US sanctions did not make us surrender, but they have made us more resolved to resist and adhere to our principles, independence and national dignity,” Rabiei said.
The US election result, suggested the government spokesman, meant the American people had “said ‘No’ to racism, obnoxious behavior, sexism, law-breaking and trouble-making in the world…We hope that the next US administration can be the true representative of the US people and attend to the violation of international accords by the previous government.”
Rabiei echoed Rouhani’s demand that the US offer recompense for sanctions, which have sent the Iranian economy into recession. “Our expectations are clear,” he said. “We hope that the new US administration would stop the mistakes made in the past and try to compensate what has been done. Returning to the 2015 nuclear deal and unconditional commitment to all of its obligations would be the first step in correcting what has been done wrong in the past…Iran deserves a better share of the world’s economy.”
Joe Biden, projected winner of the US election, is yet to advance specific plans for his Iran policy other than returning Washington to the nuclear deal, which was reached when Biden was vice-president under former President Barack Obama. Analysts and policy-makers in Washington and Europe are musing with notions of extending the deal or returning to its full implementation in stages. Since Trump withdrew in 2018, Iran has gradually expanded its nuclear program beyond the JCPOA limits, especially by stockpiling enriched uranium tenfold.