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Iranian President Seeking Wartime Powers To Deal With 'Economic War'

Hassan Rouhani meeting with clerics-- 20 May 2019
Hassan Rouhani meeting with clerics-- 20 May 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he is seeking expanded, wartime executive powers to deal with an “economic war” being waged against the country by the United States.

Relations between Tehran and Washington have plummeted since last year when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the 2015 nuclear deal which curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.

Since then, Washington has stepped up its rhetoric and reimposed sanctions.

There have been growing concerns of a possible military conflict with the United States, which has warned of "imminent threats" from Tehran, a claim Iran has denied.

Rouhani cited the devastating war with Iraq from 1980-88, when a Supreme Council of War was able to bypass other branches to make decisions regarding the economy and the war effort.

"We need such powers today," Rouhani said late May 20, according to Iran's official IRNA news agency.

The president also said that he favors talks and diplomacy to deescalate tensions with Washington but not under current conditions.

"Today's situation is not suitable for talks and our choice is resistance only," IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying.

Based on reporting by IRNA and AP