NEW YORK - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged the United States on Thursday to “cease this policy of maximum pressure” in favor of “dialogue, and logic and reason.”
Rouhani's comments came one day after he accused Washington of engaging in “international piracy” against Iran by re-imposing economic sanctions after the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Since then, Iran's economy has been buckling under the weight of the sanctions. On Wednesday, the U.S. imposed more — this time targeting Iran's ability to sell its oil by imposing penalties on six Chinese companies and their chief executives for continuing to transport Iranian crude.
Tensions in the Middle East have risen as the nuclear deal has unravels and Iran has turned back to expanding its nuclear enrichment program, despite previous compliance with it for up to a year after Trump's withdrawal from the accord.
Rouhani also again denied that Iran has anything to do with drone and missile strikes against key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia earlier this month that rattled the global oil markets.
“Those who make the allegations must provide the needed proof to back up those allegations,” Rouhani said.
Saudi Arabia has invited U.N. investigators to assess where the strikes were launched from, and says Iranian weapons were used. The U.S., France, Germany and Britain also have said they believe Iran is behind the strikes.