Democratic nominee’s win boosts hopes of revitalising Iran nuclear deal – but undoing Trump years will not be easy.
Tehran, Iran – Iran and the United States can fully reverse four years of Donald Trump and return to conditions before his presidency, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said.
In a televised cabinet speech on Wednesday, Rouhani said if the incoming Joe Biden administration has the political will, Iran-US relations could be very different.
“Iran and the US can both decide and announce that they will return to conditions on January 20, 2017,” he said.
“This can be a great solution to a large number of issues and completely change the path and conditions.”
However, Rouhani outlined what Iran would expect of future President Biden.
“We hope that in its first steps, the next US administration will explicitly condemn Trump’s policies on Iran,” the president said, calling the policies “anti-human rights and terroristic”.
He also said a Biden administration would have to “make up for the incorrect policies” of his predecessor without further elaborating.
The president said Iran’s policy has always been clear and is based on “commitment for commitment, action for action, de-escalation for de-escalation, and respect for respect”.
In May 2018, Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers in 2015 and imposed harsh economic sanctions on Tehran.
The sanctions only intensified as Iran started battling the deadliest outbreak COVID-19 pandemic of the Middle East, which has now killed nearly 50,000 people.
Iran has called the “maximum pressure” campaign of the Trump administration an instance of “economic and medical terrorism”, and has said a future US administration would have to pay compensation.
The Iranian president on Wednesday also said the defeat of Trump in the US presidential elections signals that Iranians emerged victorious from an “economic war”.
“One of the great manifestations of the victory of the Iranian nation and the certain defeat of the enemy in this economic war is the end of the Trumpism era,” Rouhani said.
“This person committed the worst crimes in US history against independent nations, especially the Iranian and Palestinian nations.”
According to Rouhani, the past three years signal a new “holy defence” only second to the deadly eight-year Iran-Iraq War that ended in 1988.
In both wars, he said, Iran stood alone while foes supported from both the West and the east attacked.
Rouhani’s remarks come one day after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran will resist and choose the path of “defusing sanctions and overcoming them” until a time when countries that target Iran come to the realisation that sanctions are useless.
“We tried the path of lifting sanctions once and negotiated for years, but it led to no results,” Khamenei said.
“If we can overcome sanctions through hard work and innovation and taking problems as they come, and the other side sees that sanctions are ineffective, they will gradually stop sanctioning.”