DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s decision to further challenge the United States by boosting its uranium enrichment beyond limits in its 2015 nuclear deal has deepened fears among Iranians that their country will remain in crisis mode over the long term.
The United States’ exit from the pact last year, under President Donald’s Trump’s campaign to squeeze Iran with sanctions, has so far failed to force its clerical rulers to renegotiate.
Iran confirmed on Monday it had enriched uranium to a purity beyond that allowed by the pact. Trump, who ordered air strikes last month only to cancel them minutes before impact, has warned Iran’s leaders ‘to be careful’. Since May, he has tightened sanctions with the aim of halting Iran’s oil exports entirely, depriving it of its main source of revenue.
“Yes, life is difficult because of the sanctions. Yes, I think this (nuclear) programme is too costly for Iranian people,” said Firouzeh, 43, a housewife in the city of Babolsar, reached by telephone.
“But no matter what the reason is, I am against my country being attacked,” she said. Like others interviewed, she asked that only her first name be used due to sensitivities.
The confrontation has taken on a military dimension, with Washington blaming Tehran for attacks on oil tankers, and Iran shooting down a U.S. drone, prompting Trump’s aborted strikes.