WASHINGTON (AFP) – Iran dismissed a US offer to renegotiate a historic 2015 nuclear deal signed with other major powers as President Donald Trump reimposed crippling sanctions on Tuesday.
Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May has infuriated European partners who were determined to keep it alive and now find their businesses operating in Iran faced with the threat of US legal penalties.
The sanctions that went into effect on Tuesday target Iranian access to US banknotes and key economic sectors including cars and carpets.
Much of the damage has already been done, with Trump’s aggressive rhetoric fuelling a run on the rial in recent months, while worsening inflation has stoked public protests against the government’s management of the economy that have intensified over the past week.
Most Iranians see US hostility as a basic fact of life, so their frustration is largely directed at their own leaders for not handling the situation better.
“Prices have been increasing for three or four months and everything we need has become so expensive, even before sanctions returned,” said Yasaman, a 31-year-old photographer in Tehran.
He said Iran’s leaders may need to “drink the poison cup” and negotiate with the US.
In a statement on Monday just hours before the sanctions went back into force, Trump said: “The Iranian regime faces a choice. “Either change its threatening, destabilising behaviour and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.
“I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism,” Trump said.
But his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani dismissed the idea of talks while crippling sanctions were in force.
“If you’re an enemy and you stab the other person with a knife, and then you say you want negotiations, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife,” he told state television..
“They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation,” Rouhani said. “Negotiations with sanctions doesn’t make sense.”