ABC News – In an interview with ABC News anchor David Muir on Wednesday afternoon, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said U.S. sanctions “cannot continue” and were “against the international laws and against [the] UN Security Council resolution.”
Rouhani addressed the UN General Assembly earlier on Wednesday, saying Iran would not negotiate a nuclear deal as long as it remained under sanctions. His statement came on the same day that the U.S. announced new sanctions on Chinese companies and their executive officers for allegedly transporting Iranian oil and after it doubled down on sanctions against Iran’s central bank.
“According to the [International Atomic Energy Agency]…Iran has lived up to every single one of our commitments, and U.S. sanctions are against the international laws and against [the] UN Security Council resolution,” Rouhani told Muir, the anchor of “World News Tonight.” “The more these sanctions go on, the more the hatred of the people increases toward the United States of America, and internal unity becomes more and more solid. Yes, our people are under pressure. But the Iranian economy is adapting itself in such a way to the new sanctions of the United States of America that…in the past three months, we have been put on a trajectory of economic growth, even though, prior to this, we were experiencing a negative economic growth.”
The White House also announced a ban effective immediately on visas for senior Iranian officials. It was unclear if individuals who are already in the country will have their visas revoked and be deported. The State Department referred questions on that to Homeland Security.
Rouhani told Muir that the government and administration in Iran were not at fault for the sanctions and that U.S. actions were to the detriment of Americans and other countries.
He called the sanctions “an economic form of terrorism” against Iranians and said they have been “extremely destructive and extremely hurtful.”
“What America thought that it could accomplish with sanctions, that it would provoke our people against the administration, against the government, after a year-and-a-half, it has become very clear that our people, with extreme awareness and understanding, know that the main culprit is the United States of America’s government,” Rouhani said through a translator on Wednesday.
ABC News’ Conor Finnegan, Ben Gittleson and Christine Theodorou contributed to the reporting in this story.