TEHRAN – Iran has dismissed the recent remarks of U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, saying that such statements are for domestic consumption and should be avoided.
“Some remarks, even if they are meant for domestic consumption, will ruin the atmosphere for reaching a solution,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a joint press conference with Iyad bin Amin Madani, the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Tehran on Wednesday.
Zarif made the remarks in response to Sherman’s statement before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Tuesday, in which she said, “Even as we pursue negotiations of a comprehensive solution on Iran’s nuclear program, we will not relax our efforts to hold Iran accountable for its human rights violations and abuses, support for terrorism, and interference across the region.”
She also said, “We have long recognized that the Iranian nuclear program constitutes one of the most serious threats to U.S. national security and our interests in the Middle East.
“We have made it clear to Iran that, if it fails to live up to its commitments, or if we are unable to reach agreement on a comprehensive solution, we would ask the Congress to ramp up new sanctions. In that situation, we would be well-positioned to maximize the impact of any new sanctions because following a strong diplomatic effort we would likely have the support of the international community, which is essential for any increased pressure to work.”
Zarif said, “We hold talks with the United States only on the nuclear issue,” adding, “They themselves know that the issues that they raise in response to pressure from inside United States and to appease pressure groups are against the nuclear agreement and negotiations.”
He also said that sanctions are “illegal” and “ineffective”.
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