Zarif: Sanctions only hurt ordinary Iranians but fail to change Tehran’s policy

December 17, 2018

TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday reiterated that U.S. sanctions will fail to change Iran’s policy, reminding that sanctions only hurt "ordinary Iranians", Press TV reported.

In a post on his official Twitter account, Zarif pointed to his attendance at the Doha Forum on Saturday, saying he had told the conference that "sanctions have never worked".

"They (sanctions) hurt ordinary Iranians but don't change policy," Zarif remarked.

In an open reference to the Trump administration, Zarif said instead of withdrawing from the nuclear deal, the new American government had better settle its disputes with Iran at the negotiating table like what the Obama administration did, which led to the start of nuclear talks.

"It was U-turn on part of U.S., which allowed #IranTalks to proceed. Same dynamic today," the chief diplomat suggested.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.

However, President Donald Trump withdrew his country in May from the landmark agreement and ordered reimposition of unilateral sanctions against Tehran.

Zarif added in his Twitter post that Iran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA "are at table," emphasizing that "it is [the] U.S., which has decided to walk away and sow violence & chaos."

In his address to the Doha Forum on Saturday, Zarif said economic sanctions will fail to have any impact on the policies of the Islamic Republic at home or abroad.

"It's obviously the case that we are facing economic pressure because of the U.S. sanctions. [The] U.S. is a major global power and it can actually create painful conditions for other countries. But would that lead to a change of policy? I can assure you that it won't," he stated, Press TV reported.

In November, the Trump administration announced the reimposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran's banking and energy sectors with the aim of cutting off the country's oil sales and crucial exports.

A first round of American sanctions took effect in August, targeting Iran's access to the U.S. dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector.

The U.S. administration hoped to get the other parties to the deal with Iran to likewise scrap the deal, but instead, they stressed that not only would they stick to the agreement, but they would also work to sustain it in the face of increased U.S. pressure. Europeans believe that the nuclear deal is an important element of international security.

In November, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said sanctions will fail to stop the country's progress in different fields.

"In spite of sanctions, Iran's achievements in various fields, particularly in the defense and missile industry sectors as well as the nuclear industry have astonished the world," Salehi added.

In a letter to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, the Islamic Republic of Iran Medical Council (IRIMC) said illegal economic sanctions imposed by the United States against Tehran have negative impacts on the country's health sector, calling for an immediate and humanitarian solution to the issue.

The illegal U.S. economic sanctions and restrictions in foreign trade have seriously affected Iran's access to health and medical services, medicine and medical essentials, IRIMC President Iradj Fazel and Chairperson of the Supreme Council Mohammad Reza Zafarqandi said.

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