U.S. not going to abandon sanctions tool: senior MP

November 27, 2020 - 22:15

TEHRAN – Abolfazl Amouei, the spokesman for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said on Friday that the United States won’t abandon the sanctions tool as long as the U.S. sees that this tool is working.

“We should nullify sanctions instead of removing them,” Amouei said, according to a Tasnim report.

The lawmaker’s remarks were made in reaction to the latest remarks by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran regarding the necessary strategy that Iran should adopt to lessen the economic impact of the U.S. sanctions on the country.

Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, last week suggested plans to counteract the sanctions through boosting internal economic capabilities while also ruling out any prospect of broader negotiations with the West.

The Leader addressed in detail the economic sanctions of the U.S. on Iran and their impact, calling these sanctions “a crime against the Iranian people that has been intensified in the past three years.” He said the economy is the main issue of the country right now and the livelihood of people has really been under pressure.

Ayatollah Khamenei called the sanctions “a bitter reality and a crime by America and its European partners against the Iranian nation.”

In an effort to introduce a strategy to mitigate the economic impact of the sanctions, the Leader said there are two ways to deal with sanctions: removing sanctions and nullifying or overcoming them.

The Leader pointed out that Iran has used the first way – i.e. lifting sanctions – but to no avail.

“There are two ways to tackle sanctions: 1) removing sanctions 2) nullifying and overcoming them. We tried the first option, removing sanctions, by negotiating for a few years, but to no use. The second option may have difficulties in the beginning but will have a favorable end,” the Leader pointed out. “If succeed, through hard work and innovation, in overcoming the sanctions and the other side witnesses how sanctions were nullified, it will abandon sanctions gradually.”

MP Amouei said these remarks had many facets one of which is that the country’s economy should not be tied to international developments.

“Sanctions impacts are the most important tool of the enemy against us that must be nullified,” Amouei said, adding that Iran should act on the premise that there would be no opening in relations with foreign countries.

“If we approach the enemy this way, it will also come to the conclusion that the sanctions have no effect and will not follow it, but if we seek to negotiate at any time, the enemy will turn the sanctions into a strategic commodity,” noted the lawmaker. “The enemy is by no means willing to abandon the sanctions and will use them as long as he feels that the sanctions tool has been effective.”

Amouei pointed to Iran’s experience in nullifying the U.S. sanctions on gasoline imports to Iran, saying Iran was an importer of gasoline but when the U.S. imposed sanctions on the fuel imports to Iran, the country moved to produce gasoline domestically. According to Amouei, Iran not only boosted gasoline production capacity but also became an exporter of the fuel, a clear example of how Iran can nullify the U.S. sanctions.

“During the meeting with the Leader, it was reiterated that we should nullify the sanctions instead of removing them through negotiations,” Amouei said.

The lawmaker also pointed to Europe’s position on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying the Europeans demonstrated a “strategic weakness” in the face of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA).

“[French President Emanuel] Macron said in an interview that Europe’s economy is so dependent on the U.S. none of Europe’s political decisions are implementable. The Europeans made 11 commitments to the Islamic Republic none of which was implemented by the Europeans and they even failed to operationalize the INSTEX mechanism,” Amouei pointed out.

He added, “With the win of Biden, who was the candidate supported by European countries, a kind of optimism emerged in them to rebuild their anti-Iran coalition. In this context, we had a statement from three European countries that, instead of fulfilling their commitments, emphasized that the Islamic Republic should not pursue its demands and plans.”

The lawmaker was apparently responding to the latest statements coming from the three European countries – France, Germany, and the UK (E3)- that are signatory to the JCPOA regarding Iran’s ballistic missile program and its influence in the region.

These European countries have recently called for broader negotiations with Iran that would include the missile program and regional influence.

But Amouei ruled out any kind of these negotiations, saying Iran’s influence in the region is legitimate and is at the invitation of the countries.

“Iran's presence in the region is legitimate and at the invitation of the host countries and belongs to us. So to maintain our security, we give ourselves the right to follow our regional plans,” the spokesman of the parliamentary committee asserted.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution has also taken a jab at the Europeans recently, saying that Iran’s missile program and regional presence have nothing to with the Europeans.

“The Europeans are constantly taking stances against Iran. While they are making the most improper interferences in the region’s issues, they tell us not to interfere in the region. And while France and Britain possess destructive nuclear missiles and Germany is moving in this direction, they tell us not to possess missiles,” the Leader pointed out.
Directly addressing the Europeans, Ayatollah Khamenei added, “What business is it of yours. Correct yourself first and then make remarks.”

Other Iranian officials have also ruled out the prospect of broader negotiations with the West following the Biden victory. Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini, a member of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said last week that Iran’s missile capability is not negotiable.

“Iran’s missile and defense capability are not negotiable at all,” Abbaszadeh Meshkini told the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency


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