Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has slammed certain European countries for making interventionist remarks on the recent execution of a counterrevolutionary figure in Iran, noting that their apparent sensitivity on this issue amounts to interference in Iran’s internal affairs.
“We have death sentence in our law and some people are executed. Why they show so much sensitivity over one person? This does not have a good meaning and has an interventionist undertone,” Rouhani made the remarks in a press conference on Monday, which was attended by domestic and foreign correspondents.
In clear reference to statements made by France and Germany in condemnation of the death sentence of Rouhollah Zam, who ran a seditionist and counterrevolutionary website against the Iranian government and nation, Rouhani added, “They [Europeans] say this person has been working to serve our interests.”
“When they are showing so much sensitivity … it is not in their favor and is not in favor of anybody else,” he said, adding, “Iran has a judicial power and its judiciary is independent from the executive…. This person has not been executed without a judicial verdict and it has been handed down by a court of law.”
“Their problem is with the Judiciary’s verdict. We will continue to act within framework of our laws and regulations and I don’t think that this issue would harm Iran’s relations with Europe,” Rouhani added.
Iran on Sunday summoned French and German ambassadors to Tehran to protest statements made by their respective countries on the execution of Zam.
Zam was hanged on Saturday after Iran’s Supreme Court affirmed his conviction on the basis of spreading corruption on earth among other charges, which bought him a death sentence by the Islamic Revolution Court back in June.
He was also convicted of committing offenses against the country’s internal and external security, spreading lies, abetting economic disruption, spying for the intelligence services of France and one of the regional states, cooperating with the hostile US government against the Islamic Republic, participating in propaganda activities against the Islamic establishment on behalf of counterrevolutionary groups, fueling violence during the 2017 riots, insulting the sanctities of Islam and acquiring illegitimate wealth.
“Trump’s economic war against Iran has failed”
Elsewhere in his press conference, Rouhani said the economic war waged by the administration of the outgoing US President Donald Trump against the Islamic Republic through the imposition of the toughest sanctions has been total failure.
“One of the goals that the [Iranian] administration pursues is to defeat sanctions … because Trump’s economic war has failed and the entire world has owned up to this [fact],” Rouhani said.
The US, under Trump, unleashed a so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran in 2018, when it unilaterally left the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and major world powers back in 2015.
Following its much-criticized exit, Washington has been attempting to prevent the remaining signatories from abiding by their commitments and thus kill the historic agreement, which is widely viewed as a fruit of international diplomacy.
Following its withdrawal, Washington targeted the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” economic sanctions in order to bring it to its knees, but the country’s economy keeps humming and is getting back on its feet.
“The whole world is putting pressure on the United States to return to the JCPOA, so that the deal could be activated again,” Iran’s president said, adding, “One of the main services of the 12th [Iranian] administration …was that it used all in its power to prevent destruction of the JCPOA.”
“Trump did his best to destroy the JCPOA and some people wanted to do this inside the country as well, but we sought to keep the JCPOA alive,” President Rouhani said.
He added that the main reason behind failure of Trump in its drive against Iran was coordination and cooperation between Iran and other countries, especially the remaining four signatories to the JCPOA, within the international bodies, which caused every plan forwarded by Trump to those organizations to run aground.
He noted that the JCPOA was not a flawless agreement and has some problems, but “it is also an unprecedented deal in Iran and the region.”
The Iranian president pointed to years of negotiations between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries, which led to the conclusion of the landmark nuclear agreement, saying that he knew no country, which had held talks with six countries and managed to succeed.
“Although the JCPOA was hobbled [after US withdrawal from the deal], it brought disgrace upon the US and Trump three times at the United Nations,” he said.
Rouhani emphasized that his administration would not allow certain individuals within the country to delay the termination of sanctions and would resist against them, saying, “Sanctions should be terminated and this is the right of the [Iranian] people.”
“The US must return to its previous obligations [under the JCPOA] and as we have previously announced, if they return to all their obligations, we will also resume compliance with our commitments,” the Iranian chief executive pointed out.
In response to the US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments five times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.
Rouhani reaffirms: JCPOA, Iran’s missiles non-negotiable
Elsewhere in his interview, Rouhani once again reaffirmed Iran’s stance on its defensive missile program and said, “The JCPOA has been already negotiated and implemented… Other topics, including [Iran’s] missiles and regional developments have nothing to do with the nuclear issue.”
Adding that Iran does not accept any preconditions from anybody before any possible negotiations, Iran’s president said the country does not intend to enter into new talks over its nuclear deal.
He also emphasized that the JCPOA is non-negotiable and the US President-elect Joe Biden is “well aware of this” issue.
“For months, the Americans were trying to include the missile-related and regional issues [in the nuclear talks] and we rejected… Trump is not aware of these issues and does not know anything about them, but Mr. Biden is well aware of the details of the talks,” Rouhani said.
“The only thing that can be put on the table is that all [parties] shall return to full compliance with their commitments,” the Iranian president stressed.