Iran has greeted the re-imposition of US sanctions with air defence drills and a statement from President Hassan Rouhani that the nation faces a “war situation”.
The sanctions end all economic benefits America had granted Tehran for its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, though Iran for now continues to abide by the accord that saw it limit its enrichment of uranium.
While at the moment not threatening to resume higher enrichment, Iranian officials in recent months have made a point to warn that the controversial process could resume at any time, faster than before.
The new American sanctions particularly hurt Iran’s vital oil industry, a crucial source of hard currency for its anaemic economy.
Its national currency has plummeted over the last year, sending prices for everything from mobile phones to medicine skyrocketing.
“Today, Iran is able to sell its oil and it will sell,” Mr Rouhani vowed on Monday as the sanctions kicked in.
However, the noose of American sanctions appeared to be tightening.
Iranian officials, meanwhile, reported a cyber attack targeting the country’s communication infrastructure, blaming the purported attack on Israel.
Iranian state television aired footage of air defence systems and anti-aircraft batteries in two-day military manoeuvres under way across a vast stretch of the country’s north.
It included surface-to-air missiles shooting down a drone.
The drill was to continue through Tuesday.
Iranian army General Habibillah Sayyari said both the national army and the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard were taking part in the exercise.
Mr Rouhani, meanwhile, pledged to government officials that Iran would overcome the sanctions, in comments aired on state TV.
“We are in the war situation, ” Rouhani said.
“We are in the economic war situation. We are confronting a bullying enemy. We have to stand to win.”
The United States says the sanctions are not aimed at toppling the government, but at persuading it to radically change its policies, including its support for regional militant groups and its development of long-range ballistic missiles.
Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman welcomed the newly restored US sanctions, saying in a tweet they will deal a “critical blow” to Iran’s military presence around the Middle East.
The Trump administration’s decision to restore sanctions is “the sea change the Middle East has been waiting for”, he said.