TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman strongly criticized the US officials for slapping new sanctions on Tehran, saying the responsibility for such “unconsidered measures” rests entirely with Washington.
“Unfortunately, we are witnessing serious confusion in US officials’ attitudes, decisions and remarks,” Marziyeh Afkham said on Friday, after a US move to expand its sanctions blacklist against 19 comapnies and individuals.
She described the new US measure targeting companies and individuals for supporting Iran’s peaceful nuclear program as “recurring and futile”, and added, “We regard such measures as unconstructive and out of step with the agreement reached in Geneva.”
On Thursday, the US Treasury Department issued new sanctions against more than a dozen companies and individuals for evading US sanctions against Iran. The blacklisting is widely seen as an attempt to head off moves in Congress to impose additional sanctions that would be in clear breach of the Geneva agreement.
The decision comes after Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program based on which the world powers agreed to suspend some non-essential sanctions and to imposed no new bans in return for Tehran’s decision to freeze parts of its nuclear activities and to allow more inspection of its nuclear facilities.
During the half-year period, Iran and the G5+1 are due to negotiate a comprehensive deal with the aim of resolving for good the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program after a decade of on-off meetings and failed attempts.
Senior administration officials argued that Thursday’s blacklistings were carried out within the framework of the existing sanctions regime and did not constitute new measures. They include Mid Oil Asia, Singa Tankers, Siqiriya Maritime, Ferland Company Limited and Vitaly Sokolenko.
The US also named five Iranian entities it said are directly engaged in actions contributing to Iran’s ability to enrich uranium. Several other entities related to Iran’s ballistic missile program were also targeted.
“While on the one hand, the US administration officials are seemingly persuading Congress to refrain from passing fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran within the framework of furtherance of the Joint Plan of Action between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Group 5+1, on the other hand, in a questionable move, the US departments of treasury and state… have blacklisted firms from Iran and a number of foreign countries in an unconstructive measure,” Afkham said.
“The onus for consequences of such indiscreet measures is all on the US administration,” she warned.
In relevant comment on Friday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi also censured the US decision to issue new sanctions on Tehran, saying the move has violated the spirit of a nuclear deal reached with major powers in Geneva last month.
“We are evaluating the situation and Iran will react accordingly to the new sanctions imposed on 19 companies and individuals. It is against the spirit of the Geneva deal,” Araqchi said.
“We are evaluating the situation and will make the appropriate response.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier warned that warned that any further sanctions against the country would kill the recent nuclear deal.
“The entire deal is dead. We do not like to negotiate under duress. And if Congress adopts sanctions, it shows lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on part of the United States,” Zarif said.
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