Sanctions on construction sector shows Washington’s diplomatic weakness and failure, Iran says

November 3, 2019

TEHRAN – Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has reacted to the United States’ sanctions on Iran’s construction sector, saying such moves indicate Washington’s “weakness” and “failure” in the domain of diplomacy.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. diplomacy apparatus is incapable of presenting diplomatic and rational initiatives, and only relies on force and economic terrorism,” Mousavi said in a statement on Saturday, according to Foreign Ministry website.

“The United States’ arrogant diplomacy, which is also used in dealing with other countries and even international and multilateral mechanisms, has turned into a global scourge,” he said.

“Rather than imposing repetitive sanctions and [resorting to] alarmism, which will definitely fail to help them achieve their objectives, the U.S. had better stop getting further bogged down in its self-made illusions and begin to make good on its commitments under the JCPOA again,” the spokesman added.

Writing on his Twitter page on Friday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also called on the Trump administration that instead of digging itself “deeper” by such actions it is better to “abandon failed policies and return to the JCPOA.” 

Such moves show the “maximum failure of maximum pressure”, Zarif remarked. 

The United States said on Thursday it had imposed sanctions on the Iranian construction sector and trade in four materials used in its military or nuclear programs, Reuters reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration last year pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal in which Iran had agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The administration has since restored and tightened U.S. sanctions on Iran while at the same time calling for talks to address broader issues.

The U.S. State Department said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had determined Iran’s construction sector was controlled directly or indirectly by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which Washington has named a foreign terrorist organization.

As a result, the sale of raw and semi-finished metals, graphite, coal, and software for integrating industrial purposes will be sanctionable if the materials are to be used in Iran’s construction sector, the department said in a fact sheet.

In a second determination, Pompeo identified four “strategic materials” as being used in connection with nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs, making trade in them subject to sanctions.

The fact sheet identified the materials as: “stainless steel 304L tubes; MN40 manganese brazing foil; MN70 manganese brazing foil; and stainless steel CrNi60WTi ESR + VAR (chromium, nickel, 60 percent tungsten, titanium, electro-slag remelting, vacuum arc remelting).”

MH/PA

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