TEHRAN: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif deplored the US new sanctions against Iran as a violation of the Geneva nuclear deal, and warned that Tehran may reciprocate the Washington move.
“We have stated since the very first day that this (imposition of sanctions) is a dangerous and unconstructive view and method and runs counter to the spirit of the Geneva agreement (inked by Iran and the world powers in November to settle disputes over Tehran’s nuclear program) and in some parts it can be a violation of the US undertakings based on the Geneva deal,” Zarif said in a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja in Tehran on Sunday.
Zarif said such measures make the problems between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) even more complicated. “Iran reserves the right to adopt similar reciprocal moves against these actions when necessary,” Zarif underlined.
Yet, the foreign minister stressed that Iran is seriously committed to reach final results in its negotiations with the G5+1, and added, “We have shown to the world that we are after a solution.”
His remarks followed the US government’s announcement of a slew of penalties targeting dozens of Iranian individuals and entities, including shipping and oil companies, banks and airlines.
The latest sanctions - which Washington said were leveled as punishment for existing restrictions being skirted - come despite Iran’s ongoing talks with the West which are aimed at ending the decade-long nuclear dispute.
Most Iranian officials have condemned the new US sanctions as a provocative move in breach of the Geneva nuclear accord between Tehran and the six world powers. President Hassan Rouhani said the United States’ fresh sanctions run counter to the Geneva deal between Tehran and the six world powers, warning that Washington’s continued hostile moves have made Iranians distrustful of the US.
“Our people are fully distrustful of the Americans, and the US had better have paved the ground for attracting their trust to some extent. The US moves make the Iranian people even more distrustful of the US and these actions run counter to the Geneva agreements,” President Rouhani said during a press conference here in Tehran on Saturday.
He then pointed to the US justifications that it has not imposed any fresh sanctions against Iran to violate the Geneva deal, and the newly embargoed individuals and companies have been punished as an extension of the previous sanctions, and said, “Even if we imagine that they are right, such a behavior still runs counter to the spirit of the Geneva Agreement.”
“Besides, we basically believe that sanctions are illegal and wrong in essence and their form is also incorrect and unconstructive from our viewpoint,” the Iranian president added.
Asked by NBC network if the new US sanctions would damage the chance for striking a final deal with the world powers, the president said other 5+1 member states have not taken any action that Iran could deem as a damage to the talks since the Geneva deal was signed in November, and “the United States is the only country that Iran holds deep doubts about its good will for the settlement of the nuclear standoff”.
He once again reminded that the path of sanctions has proved to be wrong and would not yield any result, while it has been “harmful to all parties”. “The path which used to be adopted was a lose-lose path, and today everyone is after a win-win game, although the negotiations are hard.”
Rouhani said there are, at least, three or four complex issues on the agenda of the talks which still need to go under further negotiations, including a series of talks later this week. “We will continue the negotiations till we obtain results and we are hopeful that if the other side shows good will, we will be able to achieve understanding and agreement in the remaining period,” the Iranian president reiterated.
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