Sanctions are continuation of U.S. animosity toward Iran, deputy foreign minister says

Araqchi: Iran won’t play into Trump’s hands

July 30, 2017

TEHRAN – Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said late on Saturday that United States’ new sanctions on Iran are a continuation of Washington’s animosity towards Iran which will continue in the future.

However, the top diplomat said Iran will retaliate strongly against the sanctions.

“Our response to the new U.S. sanctions will be firm and timely,” Araqchi said in a televised interview.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate approved a sanctions bill against Iran for its missile program, alleged human rights abuses and what Washington calls Tehran’s “destabilizing role” in the region.

Some analysts had expected the U.S. soften its rhetoric and policy toward Iran after the conclusion of the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement - officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - between Iran and great powers including the United States.

But Araqchi said, “No one should expect that the U.S. ease animosity towards Iran due to the JCPOA or anything else.”

U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to prevent Iran’s empowerment and create a negative atmosphere to impede the country’s interaction with other countries, said Araqchi, an expert in  legal and international affairs who played an important role in drafting the text of the JCPOA in negotiations with diplomats from Germany, France, Britain, the European Union, Russia, China and the U.S.

Araqchi said according to paragraphs 26, 28 and 29 of the JCPOA, the deal should be implemented “in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere”, adding the other side is obliged not to impede normalization of Iran’s relations with the outside world but the U.S. has “practically violated the JCPOA by imposing these sanctions”.

In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria in New York on July 15, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “Trump used his presence in Hamburg during the G20 meeting in order to dissuade leaders of other countries from getting engaged in business with Iran.”

Araqchi also said that Washington seeks to provoke Iran to exit the nuclear agreement but “Iran will not play into Trump’s hands”.

Elsewhere, he said, “Iran and the European countries have differences on issues such as human rights and missile program. However, the Europeans support the JCPOA, so Trump has not been able to undermine the nuclear deal.”

Irritated over Iran’s scientific advances, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on six Iran-based satellite companies on Friday, immediate one day after Iran launched Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite carrier into space.

The U.S. State Department released a media note on Friday claiming that Iran’s act in launching the satellite carrier is inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

The resolution - which endorsed the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, great powers and the European Union – “calls upon” Iran not to “undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology”.

“Every word of JCPOA carefully negotiated. Iran does not develop missiles that are DESIGNED to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Friday.

NA/PA

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