New Sanctions Could Put Brakes on Diplomacy

New Sanctions Could Put Brakes on Diplomacy
New Sanctions Could Put Brakes on Diplomacy

The foreign ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday any new anti-Iran sanctions by the US could bring the ongoing talks between Tehran and its international negotiating partners over its nuclear program to a "halt".    

Speaking at her regular press briefing, Afkham said, "We believe sanctions and employing this illegitimate and outdated instrument is not helpful." She urged Washington to "act reasonably" and avoid repeating "the wrong policies" of the past, ISNA reported.

The remarks came as the US Congress dominated by Republicans is considering a new sanctions bill against Iran over its nuclear program.

She said, "The Iranian nation has proved that sanctions could not hinder their economic and development plans and even the government has envisaged reducing dependency on oil in next year's budgetary plans."

"The administration has drawn up policies based on the resistance economy," she noted.

Afkham was referring to a set of principles set out by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei which mainly calls for measures to help boost domestic production to reduce reliance on oil revenues and counter the West's pressure on the country.  

Afkham also said oil should not turn into a political tool, otherwise all countries, especially oil producers, will be the ones to suffer from slumping prices.

"If oil, which is an economic issue, turns political then countries themselves will be harmed," she added.

She added that the member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are in talks to control falling oil prices.

Crude oil prices have dropped by about 60 percent since June last year in one of the fastest drops ever for the volatile commodity. Analysts have blamed the falling prices on increased supplies by some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, and lackluster global economic growth.

The spokesperson also said the necessary preparations are being made for a visit by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Saudi Arabia following an invitation extended by Riyadh.

In response to a question about the recent deadly attack on a newspaper in France and the following incidents, Afkham said, "Such acts are against the teachings of Islam." She also condemned the publication of a new cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) on the cover of the French magazine.   

"We condemn the sacrilegious move by the French weekly because it hurts the feelings of Muslims and could fan the flames of the vicious circle of extremism in the world."      

Last week, 17 people lost their lives in separate attacks including one on the offices of the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.  Police finally managed to kill the three people involved in the attacks who apparently had links to extremist militant groups in the Middle East.

Charlie Hebdo had previously raised controversy by publishing cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). On Wednesday the magazine once again published a new cartoon of the prophet of Islam on the cover of its new edition.