Iran accuses US of 'economic terrorism' and 'international piracy' in counter-attack at UN

In a scorching counter-attack to US president Donald Trump’s UN speech, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has slammed the president for “economic terrorism” and the "silent killing" of Iranian citizens.

In his address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, President Rouhani said his country had suffered “merciless economic terrorism” under the sanctions placed on the country by the US, and refused to renegotiate any nuclear deals until they were lifted.

“We have never surrendered to foreign aggression and inquisition,” he said.

“How someone can believe that the silent killing of a great nation and pressure on the life of 83 million Iranians, particularly women and children, are welcome by the American government officials who pride themselves on such pressures and exploit sanctions in an addictive manner."

Mr Rouhani warned that with tensions high and conflicts flaring. Credit: AP

In the bleak speech on Wednesday, Mr Rouhani warned that with tensions high and conflicts flaring, the Middle East region was "on the edge of collapse" and warned the west to pull back its troops from the region.

He asserted: “The Iranian nation will never forget or forgive those crimes and these criminals.”

Tensions are running particularly high between Iran and the US at the UN, particularly after President Trump delivered a blistering attack on Iran on Tuesday, accusing the Islamic republic of funding terrorism and describing it as “one of the biggest security threats” to peace-loving nations.

President Trump delivered a blistering attack on Iran on Tuesday at the UN. Credit: AP

Last year, the US withdrew from Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers - otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Trump has since re-imposed and expanded sanctions on Iran, targeting its oil exports and crippling its economy, after he and several other countries – including the UK - blamed a drone attack on Saudi Arabia oil on Iran.

As the US delegate looked on, the Mr Rouhani further declared he will refuse any negotiations on the JCPOA until the sanctions have been lifted, and accused the US of "international piracy".

“We cannot believe the invitation to negotiation of people who claim to have applied the harshest sanctions of history against the dignity and prosperity of our nation,” he said.

US delegates looked on in displeasure. Credit: AP

“The government and people of Iran have remained steadfast against sanctions in the past one and a half years and will never negotiate with an enemy that seeks to make Iran surrender with the weapon of poverty, pressure and sanctions.

“The US government while imposing extra territorial sanctions, and threats against other nations, as made a lot of efforts to deprive Iran from the advantages of participating in the global economy, and has resorted to international piracy by misusing the international banking system.”

Mr Rouhani declared he will refuse any negotiations on the JCPOA until the sanctions have been lifted. Credit: PA

In response, UK's foreign secretary Dominic Raab spoke out against the Iranian president's actions, calling for him "come in from the cold" and start abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal.

He told the Commons: "As the UK Government, we took our time to assess the facts carefully and independently. We are now confident that Iran was responsible.

"The evidence is clear and there is no plausible alternative explanation.

"This conduct amounts to an armed attack on Saudi Arabia, a violation of one of the basic principles of international law under the United Nations Charter."

"Iran's attacks on the Aramco facilities are a reminder of the importance of ensuring that Iran never gains access to nuclear weapons."

Raab hits out at Iran during a speech in the Commons. Credit: House of Commons

Mr Johnson met with President Rouhani on Tuesday evening,

Despite sharing a joke with the president of the Islamic republic, the topics they discussed were anything but light.

They release of jailed dual nations in Iran, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker jailed in Tehran for alleged spying charges which she has denied.

The PM then invited the president to London to further "discuss things".

Mr Johnson met with President Rouhani on Tuesday evening. Credit: PA