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Iran's Multiple Reactions To Sanctions Vote In Congress

Iranian President Hassan Rohani chairs a cabinet meeting in Tehran, July 19, 2017

A day after the U.S. House of Representatives approved new sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea, reactions poured in from the three governments.

Iran’s first reaction was a statement by Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araqchi. “'The US measure by the Congress and the new law against Iran, Russia and North Korea is clearly a hostile action which would be responded by Iran, no doubt”.

Later in the day, President Hassan Rouhani at his cabinet meeting addressed the new sanctions, saying that “The people know how to resist their enemies because in the last forty years they have faced sanctions and various pressures”.

Repeating an argument often used by the Islamic Republic, Rouhani said that the American hostility is not just with Iran’s government but also with its people, since they have demonstrated their strong will to be independent.

He also repeated the foreign ministry’s earlier statement that an Iranian response will come in due course.

But Rouhani also used threatening language in his statement. “If the Americans wish this sensitive region to be more stable and safe, and they want international sea lanes to be safe for the world, they must give up their [current] policies”.

Nevertheless, Rouhani tried to sound optimistic and also indirectly defend the nuclear agreement reached with world powers, saying that the deal has limited America’s ability to impose sanctions. He argued that as a result, sanctions applied on Iran in the current bill are “are very different” from those planned for Russia and North Korea. He added that the proposed Iran sanctions are a repeat of old sanctions. He did not elaborate further.

The Iranian parliament also has come up with its own response to the vote in Congress. It was announced on Wednesday that the legislature will hold an extraordinary session on Saturday “to review a…bill to confront the adventurous and terrorist actions by the United States in the region”.