Iran Vows Defiantly to Help Its People But Offers No Plan

(Bloomberg) -- Iranian officials vowed that their nation would weather the impact of bruising new U.S. sanctions, but offered no plan of action to back up their defiant words.

The gap between rhetoric and strategy highlighted the formidable challenge Iran’s leaders will face trying to protect their country from the economic warfare the Trump administration has unleashed in an effort to force Iran to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said his nation and its international partners will seek to minimize the pain from the renewal of sanctions on the Gulf nation’s energy and financial sectors on Monday.

"Iran has weathered difficult times in the face of 40 years of American hostility, relying solely on our own resources," Zarif said in a video message posted on his Twitter account on Tuesday. “Today we and our partners across the globe will ensure that our people are least affected by this indiscriminate assault.”

The U.S. is the only nation to have quit the accord, and Iran has been working with European signatories to find channels that will allow it to maintain banking and commercial ties. They’ve said, without elaborating, that a plan is forthcoming.

Iran’s economy has already been clobbered by the very prospect of renewed sanctions, with the rial losing more than 70 percent of its value against the dollar since April. That’s forced the government to take action to prop up the currency, and to restrict exports and imports of some foods and medicines to regulate supply and control prices.

First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri said the government’s policies on foreign currency, exports and imports may need to be revised in light of the new reality, but offered no guidance.

"We need people’s cooperation so we need to clearly lay out the nation’s situation to the people,” he said.

Central bank Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati had one suggestion to a nation that’s been subject to various sanctions since the 1979 Islamic Revolution: Apply lessons learned from past rounds.

"Iranian banks, by using their experience from the previous era of sanctions, need to take action with all their capability to preserve and strengthen trade and financial transactions,” Hemmati told Iranian banks’ top executives at a meeting, according to a separate report by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

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