International sanctions on Iran were lifted when the 2015 nuclear agreement with other major world powers – the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – came into force the following year.
But the US President pulled out of the agreement in June, labelling the deal struck under the Presidency of Barack Obama as “one of the worst deals ever”.
Fresh US sanctions on Tehran took effect on August 7, targeting US dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector.
Tougher measures targeting Iran‘s lucrative oil exports – which could plummet by two-thirds by the end of this year – are expected to take effect from November.
Speaking on BBC Hardtalk, Professor and political analyst Mohammad Marandi from Tehran University, claimed the US has shown itself to be “unreliable by tearing up an international commitment”, and to have “no respect for European countries”.
The programme’s host Stephen Sackur pointed out that a host of European companies, such as oil giant Total and car maker Peugeot, will either scale back or abandon plans to invest into Iranian ventures completely because of the “power of the US economy”.
Donald Trump has already issued a strong warning to anyone trading with Iran following the re-imposition of sanctions on the country, adding they would no longer be able to trade with the US.
After accusing Iran of underestimating the power of the US economy, Professor Marandi hit back: “I don’t think anyone in Iran underestimates it, but the fact that Trump is behaving like a mafia boss is nothing to be proud of.
“It’s nothing to be proud of when a country is bordered by the United States cannot cooperate with another country.
“The Americans want to crush the Iranian people and that is simply not going to work.”
The re-imposition of the new sanctions on Iran has put huge pressure on its currency, with the rial plummeting in value by over 50 percent since April following the threat from the US.
Hardtalk’s host told Professor Marandi that Iran is in a “hole” because of the plunge in the rial, to the abandonment of joint venture deals and European investment.
He reminded him that the more expansive sanctions targeting lucrative oil exports, are yet to be imposed and that the situation will only get worse for Iran.
Professor Marandi conceded the Iran faces extremely difficult times ahead, but claimed “we have gone through worse”, and expects the country’s economy to stabilise as early as the start of 2019.
He said: “The Iranian economy is definitely going to face difficulty, it is facing difficulty and it will continue to face difficulty in the months ahead but I assure you Iran will persevere.
“We have gone through greater difficulties. In the 1980s, when the United States was helping Saddam Hussain, giving him chemical weapons to use against Iranians and we survived.
“We survived the chemical attacks, our country survived the war – we’ve gone through much worse.
“The current administration is going to go through difficulty, they have made significant mistakes over the past few months and they have to rectify those mistakes
“Without a doubt, after a few months, the economy will stabilise.
“It won’t be easy and nobody is claiming that it is going to be easy but this is something that has been unjustly imposed upon the Iranian people.”