In May 2018, Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed economic sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s financial and energy industries. In addition, Trump warned world leaders that importing oil from Iran would lead to sanctions.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has accused the United States of putting economic pressure on the country in order to destabilise Iranian society and said that Washington’s “economic terrorism” has failed, the state-run news agency FARS reported.
“The US regime had not just pursued a mere economic pressure on Iran, but it had also tried to create famine in Iran. The sanctions have failed to break us”, Rouhani said on Wednesday.
After major US media outlets projected Joe Biden as the victor in the recent presidential election, Rouhani urged a future American administration to take the chance to “compensate for its previous mistakes and return to the path of adherence to international commitments”, Iran’s president announced on his official website. Rouhani also expressed confidence that sanctions would be lifted, as the US had failed to create social tensions in Iran, with economic conditions improving.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Trump had considered attacking Iranian nuclear sites after the US Embassy in Baghdad was targeted in a rocket attack. However, he was dissuaded from moving ahead with a strike by senior advisers, as there was a possibility for a major conflict. Earlier, US Defence Secretary Christopher Miller announced that the US would reduce its military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 troops in each country.
US-Iran relations worsened after the Trump administration withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the nuclear deal, and re-imposed unilateral sanctions in 2018. In January 2020, the crisis escalated, as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a drone strike and the IRGC responded by launching missile attacks against US military bases.