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Iran president seeks wartime executive powers following US tensions

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani told clerics that he is seeking expanded, wartime executive powers [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 May, 2019

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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is seeking expanded wartime executive powers to manage Iran's economic situation - drastically worsened by Trump administration's reimposing of sanctions.

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Iran, Rouhani, US

Iran's president has told a group of clerics that he is seeking expanded, wartime executive powers to better deal with an "economic war" triggered by the Trump administration's pullout from the nuclear deal and escalating US sanctions.

The state IRNA news agency reported late Monday that President Hassan Rouhani cited the 1980s war with Iraq, when a wartime supreme council was able to bypass other branches to make decisions regarding the economy and the war.

The report didn't say what the new powers would entail but quoted Rouhani as saying that "today, we need such powers".

Rouhani says Iran is facing unprecedented problems in "banking and selling oil" but that the country "is united that we should resist the US and the sanctions".

Iran's economy has suffered since the US last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear treaty which Iran reached with major world powers and re-imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran.

In recent days the US accused Iran of alleged threats and last week deployed an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf.

Tehran had not made any direct public threats to spark the US deployment, but Washington said it acted on intelligence reports of Iranian actions.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif criticised President Donald Trump on Monday for his overnight tweet threatening the Islamic Republic with its "official end", saying Trump had been "goaded" into "genocidal taunts".

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels said on Tuesday they launched a explosive-rigged drone on a Saudi airport that also contains a military base.

On Monday the Houthis were accused of firing two missiles into Saudi Arabia, although the rebel group has denied the reports. A Saudi-owned satellite news channel reported that two missile were intercepted over the city of Taif and the Red Sea port of Jeddah.

Last week, the Houthis launched a coordinated drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US.

The deputy head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said Iranian missiles can reach US warships in the Gulf last week.

"Even our short-range missiles can easily reach (US) warships in the Persian Gulf," Mohammed Saleh Jokar, the Revolutionary Guards' deputy for parliamentary affairs, said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Iran has accused the US of "psychological warfare" over the build-up of military forces, with Zarif saying there is "no possibility" of negotiations with Washington to reduce spiralling tensions.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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