President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday asserted that U.S. President Donald Trump had retreated from earlier threats against Iran “after seeing the unity of the Iranian people”.

In comments broadcast on state television, Rouhani said that Iran would “not bow to bullying powers”.

“They thought they could undermine Iran, but in these difficult days of [U.S.] sanctions, the country’s economy is still booming,” he said. “Every day, a new economic project is inaugurated.”

“U.S. sanctions and pressure have made the lives of the Iranian people more difficult, but they have failed to break our steadfastness,” Rouhani added.

Recent weeks have seen steadily mounting tension between Iran and the U.S.

Last week, the U.S. deployed a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf citing “intelligence” of an imminent Iranian attack on U.S. interests in the region.

Tehran responded to the escalation by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, a main artery for global oil shipments linking the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. – Anadolu