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Rouhani says Iran will file legal case against US for sanctions

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the government would file a legal case in Iran against U.S. officials who imposed sanctions on the country as a precursor to action in international courts.

Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television that U.S. sanctions had created difficulties including a weaker rial currency that has fed into higher inflation.

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The United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran after U.S. President Donald Trump chose last May to abandon Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord, negotiated with five other world powers.

Rouhani said he had ordered the ministries of foreign affairs and justice “to file a legal case in Iranian courts against those in America who designed and imposed sanctions on Iran”. “These sanctions are crime against humanity,” he added.

If the Iranian court finds against the U.S. officials, Iran will pursue the case in international courts of justice, the president said.

Iranian complaints about sanctions in the international courts have occasionally succeeded. In October, judges at the International Court Of Justice (ICJ) ordered the United States to ensure sanctions do not affect humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety, a small victory for Tehran.

“The Americans have only one goal: they want to come back to Iran and rule the nation again,” Rouhani said, reiterating Tehran’s view that U.S. sanctions are aimed at overthrowing the government and ushering in one more aligned with U.S. policies.

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Rouhani said the government had managed to “put a brake on the fall of rial” but that balance has not yet returned to the foreign currency market.

The rial was trading at 131,500 per U.S. dollar on Monday on the unofficial market, almost three times weaker than a year ago, but off record lows around 190,000 hit in late September.

Iranian central bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati also accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials on Monday of waging a “psychological war” to stir panic in the currency market.

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Hemmati was quoted as saying by state media that “the central bank is in full control of the market”.

The U.S. sanctions permit trade in humanitarian goods such as food and pharmaceuticals but measures imposed on banks, and trade restrictions, could make such items more expensive as well as more difficult to pay for.

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Trump said when he pulled out of the landmark 2015 deal that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its atomic activities that it failed to rein in Iran’s missile program or curb its regional meddling.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Catherine Evans


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Taliban release two Western hostages in Afghanistan

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The Taliban handed two Western hostages over to US forces in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, three years after they were abducted, in a swap for three high-ranking insurgent prisoners that could boost peace talks.

The exchange of American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks for the militants -- including Anas Haqqani, brother to the Taliban's deputy leader -- was welcomed by both the United States and the insurgents.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the releases "give us hope for the success of intra-Afghan peace negotiations, which the United States stands ready to support."

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President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine getting ‘tired’ of Trump scandal

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that his country is "tired" of questions related to the Trump scandal, amid a critical week of public impeachment hearings in Washington.

"We have our country, we have our independence, we have our own problems," he complained after a press conference in Kiev with visiting Czech prime minister Andrej Babis.

Hearings began last week in Washington into whether US President Donald Trump ordered to freeze US military aid to Ukraine in an effort to get Kiev to launch investigations against potential 2020 election rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

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Audience breaks into applause as Vindman explains why he’s not afraid of testifying against Trump

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Republican efforts to undermine Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman apparently failed to persuade the audience in the impeachment hearing room.

The National Security Council staffer was showered with applause after reading the closing portions of his opening statement for a second time at the request of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY).

"Can you read the last paragraph for me again, the second-to-last one, can you read that again for me?" Maloney said. "I think the American public deserves to have it again."

Vindman agreed, and said his father would probably appreciate that.

"Dad, my sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family," Vindman said. "Do not worry, I'll be fine for telling the truth."

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