Posted on: The Guardian | May 12th, 2019
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has called for unity among political factions to overcome conditions that he said may be harder than those during the 1980s war with Iraq, state media reported, as the country faces tightening US sanctions.
Donald Trump on Thursday urged Iran’s leaders to talk with him about giving up their nuclear programme and said he could not rule out a military confrontation.
The president increased economic and military pressure on Iran, moving to cut off all Iranian oil exports while beefing up the US navy and air force presence in the Gulf.
Washington also approved a new deployment of Patriot missiles to the Middle East, a US official said on Friday.
“Today, it cannot be said whether conditions are better or worse than the (1980-88) war period,” Rouhani said, according to the state news agency IRNA. “But during the war we did not have a problem with our banks, oil sales or imports and exports, and there were only sanctions on arms purchases.
“The pressures by enemies is a war unprecedented in the history of our Islamic revolution … but I do not despair and have great hope for the future and believe that we can move past these difficult conditions provided that we are united,” Rouhani told activists from various factions.
Hardliners have criticised Rouhani after Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which Rouhani supported, and reimposed sanctions last year. The Iranian president has also been abandoned by some of his moderate allies.
Separately, a media courtsuspended the weekly Seda (Voice), the semi-official news agency ISNA reported, after the reformist magazine published articles warning about the possibility of war with the US.
“At the Crossroads of War and Peace, have moderates lost or will they again save Iran from war?” the main headline on the front page read against a photograph of US navy warships.
On social media, hardliners attacked the magazine as “Trump’s voice”, suggesting its warning about the danger of war amounted to a call for talks with the US, Iran’s arch enemy.
“At the height of America’s political, economic and media war against the Iranian nation, an Iranian publication supplements the enemy’s media operations inside the country,” the hardline-led news agency Fars wrote.
Iran has dismissed the US military build up as “psychological warfare” designed to intimidate it.
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