President Rouhani terms US sanctions on Iran as 'economic terrorism'

President Rouhani terms US sanctions on Iran as 'economic terrorism'

Tehran (Agencies): Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has said US sanctions were "economic terrorism", as he sought to foster a united front from visiting regional officials.


"America's unjust and illegal sanctions against the honourable nation of Iran have targeted our nation as a clear instance of terrorism," President Rouhani told a conference in Tehran attended by officials from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey.

"Economic terrorism is designed to create panic in the economy of a country and fear in other countries in order to prevent investment in the target country," he added.

President Rouhani said that there could be a "deluge" of drugs, refugees and attacks on the West if reimposed sanctions by the United States weaken Iran's ability to contain these issues.

"I warn those who impose sanctions that if Iran's ability to fight drugs and terrorism are affected ... you will not be safe from a deluge of drugs, asylum seekers, bombs and terrorism," Rouhani said in a speech carried live on state television.

"We are facing an all-out assault which is not only threatening our independence and identity but also is bent on breaking our longstanding ties", he said.

"When they impose sanctions on Iran, they deprive all of us of the benefits of international trade, energy security and sustainable development. And in fact, they impose sanctions on everyone.

President Rouhani also warned Europe, which has strongly objected to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, that much is at stake in its efforts to bypass US sanctions and maintain trade with Iran.

"They should know that by sanctioning Iran, they would harm our ability to fight drugs and terrorism," Mr Rouhani said, referring to Iran's efforts to combat smuggling, particularly from Afghanistan.

The European Union is working on a payment system, known as the "special purpose vehicle", to keep money flowing into Iran, but has struggled to find a host since many countries fear repercussions from the Trump administration.

The conference in Tehran was the second regional meeting on terrorism - the first was held last December in Islamabad.