Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Share Save Save to myFT Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran 11 HOURS AGO Print this page15 Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani is capitalising on European support for the nuclear deal abandoned by Donald Trump to shore up his political standing at home as US oil sanctions take effect on Monday. After spending months trying to stem a crisis triggered by the US president’s decision in May to withdraw from the 2015 accord Mr Rouhani sealed with world powers, the Iranian leader has begun to cut a more confident figure.
“The US cannot win this new plot against Iran,” Mr Rouhani told reporters last week. “I tell those who do trade with Iran that this US pressure is temporary but our relations with you are permanent.” Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal and impose new sanctions on the Islamic republic had raised speculation in Iran about whether Mr Rouhani would survive a second term as domestic pressure mounted on his government. The US’s punitive measures immediately undermined some of the key successes of Mr Rouhani’s presidency as the rial collapsed, food prices rocketed and a severe foreign currency shortage took hold.
They also emboldened his hardline opponents who had long opposed the nuclear agreement and the president’s efforts to use it to re-engage with the west and tentatively open up the country. But Europe’s staunch backing of the accord and its pledges to implement measures to defy the US sanctions, including setting up a “special purpose vehicle” to maintain financial links to Iran, has helped bring a semblance of calm and stability back to the Islamic republic. “Europe’s behaviour has increased the credibility of Mr Rouhani’s government and made the president more self-confident . . . vis-à-vis hardliners who benefit most from the US’s hostility,” said Mostafa Tajzadeh, a reformist politician. “Now, Mr Rouhani is able to say that the US is alone in its pressure against Iran.”