Rouhani warns pressure on Iran will cause global insecurity
In a government meeting on Wednesday attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic Republic leaders warned both foreign nations and their own people of the consequences of US sanctions on the state, according to Fars news.
"The world powers know that if the oil boycott is fully sanctioned and Iran's oil exports are reduced to zero, international waterways cannot have their former security," added Rouhani. "Unilateral pressure on Iran cannot be in their favor and does not guarantee their security in the region and the world."
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the US would take action against any nation which helps Iran deliver oil, addressing the recent release of the Adrian Darya 1 (formerly known as the Grace 1) tanker which is carrying Iranian oil from Gibraltar.
"We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States," said Pompeo. "If that ship again heads to Syria, we will take every action we can consistent with those sanctions to prevent that."
Iran warned that any US attempt to seize the tanker would have "heavy consequences."
On Tuesday, Fox News reported that a second tanker was departing from Iran in order to deliver oil to Syria in violation of US sanctions.
"Today, the United States has committed economic terrorism against all Iranian people and Iranian children, men and women," said Rouhani.
The Iranian president added that the Islamic Republic had "chosen the right path" in reducing commitments to the nuclear deal and that Iran's patience "has a limit."
"We cannot accept full commitment with their non-commitment," said Rouhani, adding that successful negotiations with members of the nuclear deal could change the situation. If the talks fail, Iran will continue on their current path, stressed the president.
Rouhani also announced plans to sell petroleum products instead of crude, saying: "We will expand existing refineries and create new ones."
The Iranian president also stated that the nation was able to become self-sufficient in oil and gas exports and is now self-sufficient in gasoline and exporting gasoline.
Rouhani also stressed the need to reduce the excessive consumption of gas in Iran.
Addressing the national economy, Rouhani stated that unemployment in the Islamic Republic is down and that the tourism sector is up by 2% from last year, with about 6,000 jobs created in tourism.
During the meeting, Khamenei stressed that the best way to fight foreign hostility on the Iranian economy is to increase domestic production, calling this the only way to deal with economic problems, according to IRNA.
The Supreme Leader stressed that the Islamic Republic must end its dependence on crude oil exports, pay attention to economic proponents that can be the driving force for other sectors and change the way that officials look at manufacturers.
Khamenei called the easy export of crude oil a major disaster, saying that "This long-standing problem is really detrimental to the country's development."
He pointed to nations who had developed without producing any oil as examples. "Even under non-sanctioned conditions, the control of the oil market, including pricing and purchasing, is in the hands of the world's major consumers, the Western countries, who can put pressure on producers based on their own interests and political orientations."
Agreeing with Rouhani, the Supreme Leader stated that the best way to end dependence on crude oil exports is to focus on producing products from oil, including gasoline, instead of focusing on crude oil exports.
Reuters, Benjamin Weinthal and Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this report.