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Rouhani Explains Economic Downturn In Iranian Parliament

IRAN -- Iranian President Hassan Rohani speaks while submitting his next year's budget bill in an open session of parliament in Tehran, December 10, 2017
LONDON, August 28 (Reuters)

Pressures mounted on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday as lawmakers summoned him to answer questions on weak economic growth and rising prices, but the parliament was not convinced with his answers and referred the case to the judiciary.

Defending his cabinet's performance, Rouhani said the economic troubles only began when Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran, but many lawmakers did not find that answer satisfying according to vote results at the end of the session reported by Tasnim news agency. Rouhani also said "be aware that sabotage creates destruction. Be aware that painting a bleak picture of people's lives will lead to further darkness."

During the speech Rouhani also argued that the January protests in Iran encouraged President Donald Trump to withdraw from the the JCPOA.

Rouhani, a pragmatist who reduced tension with the West by striking a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, now faces a backlash from hardliners over Washington’s pullout from the pact.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin Editing by Alison Williams)