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Iran’s New Clear Stand!

It seems that Iran’s honeymoon with Europe is over!
Nearly three months after President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the landmark nuclear pact between the world powers and Iran (on May 8), Supreme Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has hinted that the West Asian nation may abandon the deal soon. He expressed serious doubt on the ability of European countries to save the deal, saying that it would not be possible for Tehran to respect the deal especially after the US’ withdrawal. As the US president plans to reinstate Washington’s sanctions on Iran and companies with ties to the Islamic republic, Khamenei has asked Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to take necessary steps in order to boost the national economy. Speaking at a press conference in Tehran last week, the supreme leader said that Iran – in the face of US sanction – should not rely on European support.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Although the European powers are trying hard to ensure Iran continues to get the economic benefits required to keep it in the nuclear deal, Khamenei stressed that “there is no problem with negotiations and keeping contact with the Europeans, but President Rouhani should give up hope on them over economic issues or the nuclear deal”. He further clarified his argument, saying: “The nuclear deal is a means, not the goal. And if we come to this conclusion that it does not serve our national interests, we can abandon it.
In May, Khamenei had set out a series of conditions for European powers if they wanted to keep Iran in the deal. One of those conditions was that the European banks should safeguard trade with Iran and guarantee Iranian oil sales. On August 29, he made clear that Tehran would never negotiate with “indecent and confrontational” US officials to strike a new deal on its nuclear programme, insisting: Washington “wants to boast they managed to bring Iran to the negotiation table“.
Khamenei wants Rouhani and his Cabinet to work “day and night” in order to solve the mounting economic problems. According to the supreme leader, it’s crucial to prevent the collapse of the Rial (Iranian currency) and to solve the unemployment problem.

President Hassan Rouhani

It is to be noted that President Rouhani had won two landslide elections on a platform of economic reform and opening Iran up to the outside world. However, his failure to materialise economic plans has badly affected his reputation and political influence. Iran’s current unemployment rate is 12% and the youth unemployment rate is 25%. The data portrays a grim picture of the country, where 60% of the 80 million population is under 30.
It will be interesting to see how the Rouhani administration tackles the problem with the help of China and Russia.

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