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Iran's Rouhani Warns About The Costs Of 'War' But Shuns Pessimists

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani during his cabinet meeting, Wed. Sept 12, 2018

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says Iran's “war with America” would entail "problems" and "casualties" for the people. Nevertheless, he warned public speakers and the media against disillusioning the people by spreading pessimism.

However, he assured Iranians that "the final victory in this war belongs to us, and we will defeat the enemy."

While talking about a war with America, Rouhani sounded equivocal as if he was speaking figuratively about what Iranian officials call an economic war.

Rouhani said during a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday September 12 that “we should tell people the truth…Iran is clearly in a war against the aggressors of history," the Rouhani administration's official website quoted him as saying.

He added "those who are sabre rattling against Iran are facing the worst situation in their own countries."

It appears that following a hard-line media campaign that is suggesting Rouhani should not go to New York in late September for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, Rouhani was in fact addressing the hardliners who oppose any dialogue with the United States and was making it clear for them that the alternative to negotiating with Washington could be going to war with the West.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani said that "except for a few countries, there is no political and intellectual support for America, " and that "even some intellectuals have described "those who dwell in the White House as stupid and idiot."

He further warned the media "not to frighten the people by lowering their morale, as scaremongering on front-pages would be costly for the nation."

Rouhani made the unusual comments while previously he had insisted that the nation should not worry about the country and the way their essential needs are to be met.

He had assured Iranians in February, "Not to worry about dollars," and had insisted in May that "I would like to tell the nation not to worry about the way the country is going to be run. We know what we are doing. We have the dollars we need, and we can supply all the requirements of the country."

This was of course, before the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran and re-introduced the sanctions that were lifted after the 2015 nuclear deal with the West.

Subsequently, the Iranian currency, rial, experienced a sharp devaluation and a dramatic rise in the price of goods and services, which left most of the nation in an extremely vulnerable economic situation.

A second round of sanctions to start early November will hit Iran's oil exports and banking operations and might make importing and supplying of essential commodities difficult for a government plagued by economic problems, inefficiency and mismanagement.

In his speech at Wednesday's cabinet meeting, Rouhani accused the media of being "unfair" in their analysis of Iran's economic situation and called on journalists and op-ed writers to tell the truth to the nation and talk about "the positive points," but he did not say what those positive points were.

Rouhani further warned his political rivals about their smear campaigns, adding that " no one should think that mud-slinging against the administration can give them a chance in next year's Majles (parliament) elections or in the 2021 presidential election."

Borrowing the term "virus of pessimism" from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's rhetoric, Rouhani accused critical media as well as his political rivals of spreading the virus from podiums and in the media.

Rouhani was recently lambasted at the parliament for his economic failures. Nevertheless, Khamenei lent him his support, although critics believe Rouhani's answers to parliament's damning report were not convincing.