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Rouhani says US must lift all sanctions, pledges to reciprocate ‘action with action’

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani attends the 14th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) held through videoconference on March 4, 2020. (Photo by

President Hassan Rouhani says the United States has violated the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and other world powers and it is Washington that should take practical steps to rejoin the deal and lift all sanctions it has re-imposed on Tehran.

Rouhani made the remarks on Thursday during an address to the 14th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which was held through videoconference.

“The US, as the one who violated the deal, shall lift all sanctions and take practical steps in order to be able to return to the JCPOA,” Rouhani argued, using an acronym to for the landmark nuclear accord signed between Iran and six countries in 2015.

He said the Islamic Republic of Iran will reciprocate “action with action.”

“The return path to the JCPOA is straightforward, and if the US government is determined to return, there is no need for negotiations,” the president added.

Recently, US President Joe Biden has been facing growing pressure to fulfill his presidential campaign promise to rejoin the JCPOA, which was scrapped by his predecessor, Donald Trump, in pursuit of a “maximum pressure” policy against the Islamic Republic.

In recent days, the Biden administration has begun to criticize the so-called maximum pressure policy again and again, with US State Department spokesman Ned Price saying the policy failed to “deliver a so-called better deal,” as promised by the Trump administration.

However, the new administration has stopped short of revoking the policy, and instead, it has kept the sanctions in place as leverage to push Tehran into a new round of talks, which Iran has emphatically rejected.

“Allow me to announce that the US' unlawful unilateral measures have failed to bring the great Iranian nation to its knees,” Rouhani asserted, adding that Iran relied on its domestic capabilities to ward off the impact of US sanctions.

"This nation has relied on its domestic capabilities and has even made breakthroughs and great achievements including in the fight against COVID-19 and its impacts. A vivid example is the production of coronavirus vaccine by Iranian scientists, where we are prepared to extend cooperation with other countries, particularly ECO countries," the Iranian president said.

Rouhani maintained that it was for Iran’s “wisdom” and “insight” that the JCPOA managed to survive the US efforts to destroy it.

“In the last four years, the international community has witnessed the US' illegal approach and a full-scale economic war against Iran,” the chief executive said, adding, “These cruel and illegal sanctions have inflicted irreparable damage to Iran’s government and people.”

The president criticized the international community’s disappointing failure to stand up against unilateral measures and unlawful sanctions, which he said have targeted the countries’ capabilities in their battle against the deadly disease. 

“The great powers’ depriving other nations of fundamental rights and their disrespect for international organizations necessitate a response from like-minded countries, including through strengthening cooperation and creating a united front against these challenges,” he noted.

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