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  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during Iran's National Nuclear Day in Tehran, Iran, April 9, 2019.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during Iran's National Nuclear Day in Tehran, Iran, April 9, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 May 2019

"The pressures by enemies is a war unprecedented in the history of our Islamic revolution... but I do not despair and have great hope for the future and believe that we can move past these difficult conditions provided that we are united," Rouhani added.

As tensions mount between Iran and the United States, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on Saturday for unity among political factions, warning that due to current economic sanctions conditions may be harder than those faced in the 1980s war with Iraq.

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"Today, it cannot be said whether conditions are better or worse than the (1980-88) war period, but during the war we did not have a problem with our banks, oil sales or imports and exports, and there were only sanctions on arms purchases," Rouhani told Iran's state news agency IRNA.

This comes as the U.S. has upped their threat in the region by deploying in the past week, the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, a bomber task force of B-52s, and a Patriot missile defense battery in a bid to intimidate Iran. 

"The pressures by enemies is a war unprecedented in the history of our Islamic revolution... but I do not despair and have great hope for the future and believe that we can move past these difficult conditions provided that we are united," Rouhani added.

A U.S. official said the forces "have been ordered to the region as a deterrence." While Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard' aerospace division warned that "if [the U.S. Americans] make a move” they will “hit them in the head."

As hearsays of a possible confrontation fill mass media, the brand new commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Major General Hossein Salami, downplayed U.S. actions on Sunday stating that the U.S. is using psychological war in the region to pressure the Iranian government. While the Trump administration has reiterated, in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s words, that their “aim is not war” but to change the Iranian’s “behavior.”

This back and forth between both countries comes as President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal last year, and subsequently reimposed tough sanctions on Iran’s oil industry to strangle the country’s economy. On April 22, measures got worse as Trump decided to eliminate all waivers issued to eight economies allowing them to buy Iranian oil, imposing third-party sanctions. 

The Iranian response was to resume high-level enrichment of uranium if world powers did not protect its interests against U.S. sanctions, President Hassan Rouhani announced on May 8.

As the United Nations (U.N.) Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of sanctions, Idriss Jazairy pointed out on May 6, these measures are against international law, adding his “deep concern that one State can use its dominant position in international finance to harm not only the Iranian people, who have followed their obligations under the UN-approved nuclear deal to this day but also everyone in the world who trades with them.”

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