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Iran says US 'isolated' as it braces for return of sanctions

AFP  |  Tehran 

today said the was "isolated" in its hostility to the Islamic republic, as it braced for the return of sanctions against a backdrop of political turmoil inside the country.

"Of course, American bullying and political pressures may cause some disruption, but the fact is that in the current world, is isolated," told reporters, according to the semi-official agency.

is set to reimpose sanctions on tomorrow following Donald Trump's decision to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal in May -- a move opposed by all other parties to the agreement.

"We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the US," said EU in a statement jointly signed with the foreign ministers of Britain, and

"We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran," the statement added.

But the renewed hostility has already sparked a run on Iran's currency, which has lost around half its value since Trump's announcement.

And it has added to tensions inside Iran, which has seen days of protests and strikes in multiple towns and cities over water shortages, high prices and wider anger at the political system.

Severe reporting restrictions have made it impossible to verify the swirl of claims coming through social media, but journalists did confirm a heavy build-up of riot police yesterday night in the town of Karaj, just west of Tehran, that has been a focal point of unrest, and said had been cut in the area.

Rouhani is due to give a televised address to the nation at 21:40 pm (1710 GMT) today to outline plans for tackling the currency decline and impact of sanctions.

His government eased foreign exchange rules yesterday, allowing unlimited tax-free currency and gold imports, and reopening exchange bureaus after a disastrous attempt to fix the value of the rial in April led to widespread black-market corruption.

With senior religious authorities calling for a crackdown on graft, the judiciary said yesterday it had arrested the of the central in charge of foreign exchange, Ahmad Araghchi, along with a and four

Sanctions are due to return in two phases on August 7 and November 5 -- with the first targeting Iran's access to US banknotes and key industries including and

The second phase -- blocking Iran's -- is due to cause more damage, although several countries including China, and have indicated they are not willing to entirely cut their Iranian

After months of fierce rhetoric, Trump surprised observers last week when he offered to meet with Rouhani without preconditions.

But Zarif suggested it was hard to imagine negotiating with the man who tore up an agreement on which and world powers had spent the "longest hours in negotiating history".

"Do you think this person (Trump) is a good and suitable person to negotiate with? Or is he just showing off?" he said.

There have been ongoing rumours that Trump and Rouhani could meet in later this month, where they are both attending the -- though Rouhani reportedly rejected US overtures for a meeting at last year's event.

Over the weekend Trump once again floated the idea of meeting, tweeting "I will meet, or not meet, it doesn't matter -- it is up to them!"

But that came less than a fortnight after a bellicose exchange between the two presidents, with Rouhani warning of the "mother of all wars" and Trump responding with a tirade against Iran's "DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE".

Trump has stated he wants a new deal with Iran that goes beyond curbing its nuclear programme, and ends what calls its "malign influence" in the region, including its support to Syrian and militant groups in and the Palestinian Territories.

Iran hawks believe the pressure is already showing results, pointing to a surprising lack of harassment by Iranian naval forces against American warships in the Gulf this year.

If Iran senses "American they back down, if they perceive American mush they push forward -- and right now they perceive steel," said Mark Dubowitz, of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank that lobbied against the nuclear deal.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 06 2018. 17:50 IST