Iranian officials Sunday condemned new sanctions announced by the U.S., accusing it and Israel of taking out their failures in the Gaza Strip on Tehran. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Iran’s Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, called the sanctions a “flagrant violation” of last year’s Joint Plan of Action that came as talks began on Iran’s nuclear program.
“The U.S. and Israel are trying to make up for their failures by imposing new sanctions [on Tehran] as they see Iran is responsible for their fiasco in Gaza,” Boroujerdi said on the government-run Press TV. He added Tehran’s support of the Palestinians was instrumental in the outcome. A cease-fire currently is in effect in Gaza, but the agreement did not address some of Hamas’ key demands. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed and 11,000 injured in the fighting that began in July.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a Sunday news conference Iran’s response to the new sanctions could “be unpleasant to the other side,” but did not elaborate.
Boroujerdi said Iran should register its objections at the next round of nuclear talks, which are set to begin in mid-September on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York after the involved parties failed to meet a self-imposed July 20 deadline for an agreement.
Foreign Ministry representative Marziehy Afkham said Iran rejects the U.S. action as an “unacceptable and unilateral interpretation” of Iran’s agreement with the so-called P5+1 -- the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the U.S., Russia, France, China and Britain) plus Germany, the Tehran Times reported.
Iran maintains its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only, but it long has been suspected in the West there’s a military component to it.
The U.S. Friday announced sanctions on more than 25 Iranian individuals and companies, involving banks, oil companies, airlines and shipping firms. Afkham called the action “negative and counterproductive” and said it questions the “seriousness, honesty and goodwill” of negotiators for the world powers. A White House statement said the action was part of a strategy to crack down on groups trying to evade the restrictions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Saturday questioned whether the U.S. had “adequate goodwill” to reach a nuclear agreement and called the new sanctions “an ugly move.” He also said at a news conference Washington can never be trusted -- a tone that harkened back to earlier Iranian regimes and in stark contrast to the one he tried to set when he took office a year ago, the New York Times reported.
Rouhani called the restrictions “illegal and crimes against humanity.” He added: “Our people distrust Americans. It would be better if Americans could do something that could help to build some trust in the future. Unfortunately, their moves only deepen distrust.”