Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Rouhani underlined the significance of the arms ban’s removal, which came about despite Washington’s struggles to renew the restrictions.
“Sunday marked the lifting of the arms embargo, which was very important for our people, not because we are now free to buy and sell weapons, but more importantly, because the logic of law and truth won against force and bullying,” he said.
“The Americans have been trying for years to deprive the Iranian nation of its rights. The Iranian people must be free to buy or sell weapons whenever they want and need them; therefore, upholding the people’s rights was very important, and on Sunday it became evident that the Americans’ conspiracies were unsuccessful.”
The embargo was lifted on Sunday morning in line with the five-year timetable set out in the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The administration of US President Donald Trump had pushed the UN Security Council to pass an extension of the embargo, but the council voted down the proposal in August.
Following the failure of the resolution, the Trump administration moved to invoke the so-called snapback provision in the JCPOA aimed at reinstating all UN sanctions against Iran.
However, it suffered another defeat as the remaining signatories to the accord legally challenged the US move, citing its withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian chief executive said the US sought to kill the JCPOA by bringing about a mass withdrawal from the agreement when it was still a party to the deal.
Under an Israeli plot, the US tried to get the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Board of Governors to issue an anti-Iran resolution, but, having failed to do so, it was forced to unilaterally leave the JCPOA, Rouhani recalled.
“They (Americans) had pinned all hopes on us leaving the JCPOA immediately so that Security Council sanctions could be fully restored against Iran, but the [Iranian] government’s vigilance was important,” he said.
“We adopted a complex policy and somehow distanced ourselves from commitments under the JCPOA step by step in a way that no friend or foe could find faults with the measures. Everyone thus said that Iran’s measures were in harmony with international law,” Rouhani said.
Touching on the upcoming US elections, he stressed that the winner of the presidential race has no option but to respect the Iranian people’s will.
“It doesn’t matter for us which person or party wins [the election]. Whoever comes to power has no other choice but to surrender to the Iranian nation,” he emphasized.
“They wanted to bring Iranians to their knees and force the Islamic establishment to give in, but we did not capitulate and will not do so. Undoubtedly, they are the ones that will sooner or later surrender.”