Free Malaysia Today – Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia cannot trade with Iran, one of its big trading partners, due to sanctions.
Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits, Mahathir noted that sanctions were not mentioned during the summit.
“When you apply sanctions, it is against the law.
“There is no provision in the United Nations that a country which is dissatisfied with another country can impose sanctions on that country and other countries trading with that nation.
“The sanctions don’t apply to one country alone,” he said, adding that Malaysia is now being sanctioned.
Reuters had reported that banks in Malaysia are closing the accounts of Iranian individuals and companies, believed to be linked to sanctions imposed by Washington.
Despite Washington’s sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme imposed late last year, Malaysia has maintained good diplomatic relations with Teheran. Last week, their leaders discussed ways to further strengthen ties.
It was not clear if the account closures were linked to the tracking of an Iranian oil tanker offshore Malaysia this year, a development that annoyed the US.
Without singling out any country, Mahathir criticised those who “talk so much” about the rule of law, rule-based trade and relations and yet were not adhering to their own principles.
Meanwhile, Mahathir said China had given its undertaking that it subscribes to a peaceful South China Sea.
In recent years, territorial disputes in the increasingly militarised area have led to tensions.
“We hope any problem in the South China Sea can be resolved through negotiations, certainly not through violence and wars.
“I believe neither China nor other nations will act violently.”
His concern was that “other countries” from outside the region may provoke Asean countries to become enemies with China because they oppose China.
He also said Asean countries did not have any problems with India and were seeking ways to increase trade, tourism and interaction between India and Asean countries.
“India is very positive on these issues and I hope this will really be translated into action both by India and the Asean countries.”