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Rouhani Sworn in for 2nd Term Amid Heightened Tensions With US

  • VOA News

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, talks with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani at his office in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 5, 2017.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was sworn in for his second term Saturday after easily winning the presidential election in May.

Rouhani, who is seen by some as a moderate leader, led Iran from relative global isolation when he signed a nuclear deal in 2015 with several world powers in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against the country.

Earlier this week, though, the United States confirmed new sanctions against Iran, leading the country to accuse the U.S. of violating the deal.

Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said on state television that the country would “react appropriately” to the new sanctions.

“We will certainly not fall into the trap of U.S. policy and Trump, and our reaction will be very carefully considered,” he said.

The new sanctions against Iran came as part of a package that also put new sanctions on Russia and North Korea. The bill aims to stop anyone who’s dealt with the Iranian ballistic missile program from entering the U.S., and blocks those associated with the program from buying or selling property held in the U.S.

President Donald Trump, during his campaign for the presidency, called the nuclear agreement “the worst deal ever.” He also criticized his predecessor, Barack Obama, for signing the deal, which Trump said doesn’t do enough to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley on Wednesday condemned Iran’s reported launch of a satellite-carrying rocket, technology that possibly could be used for a ballistic missile.

"The world must not allow Iran to act in defiance of the Security Council and its resolutions. The United States will be vigilant in ensuring that Iran is held accountable for such behavior,” she said, calling on other U.N. nations to join the U.S. in calling out Iran’s “destructive and threatening actions.”

The increasing tension could create a problem for Rouhani as he enters his second term, which he won based on his willingness to work with western nations.

“We will never accept isolation,” Rouhani said earlier this week after receiving the blessing of Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “The nuclear deal is a sign of Iran’s goodwill on the international stage.”

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