US Bans Hurt People, But Won’t Change Policy

US Bans Hurt People, But Won’t Change Policy US Bans Hurt People, But Won’t Change Policy

Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif stressed that no economic penalties imposed by Washington can force Iran to revise its regional and defense policies.
The administration of US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the Iran nuclear deal in May and reimposed sanctions to pressure Tehran to back away from its regional activities and development of ballistic missiles, among other objectives. 
When asked by CBS News in a recent interview if his country was ready and able to withstand a loss that could amount to more than a third of its vital oil revenue, Zarif said sanctions will have an economic impact, but will not change policy.
“The US has an addiction to sanctions and they believe that the sanctions are the panacea to resolve all problems. They don’t. They, in fact, hurt people and we have an obligation as a government to minimize their impact on the people. But sanctions never change policy.”
Western countries claim that harsh sanctions against Iran in 2013 helped draw Iran to the negotiating table, which allegedly led to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Zarif said Iran will continue working with Europe, China and Russia to keep the deal together. 
European nations are already working on a mechanism designed specifically to let them continue trade with Iran, including oil purchases. 


Best Deal 

The Iranian foreign minister said it is the first time that the Europeans are not only making statements against US policy, but are also developing a mechanism to avoid these sanctions and compensate for the sanctions.
“I didn’t spend two and a half years in negotiating this deal to simply walk away from it, because I know that there won’t be a better deal. There will never be a better deal for the United States,” he said. 
“I can assure President Trump with all his negotiating skills that this is the best deal that was possible. The best deal for us. The best deal for Europe. The best deal for the United States. The best deal for Russia and China and the best deal for the international community.”
Zarif admitted that the sanctions have already inflicted pain, downplaying any wider implications for the Iranian economy.    
“Everybody believes that the impact of those sanctions have already affected the economy,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of the US convincing the Chinese and Indians not to buy Iranian oil, the top Iranian diplomat said, “I think the Americans will have a bigger problem … Because then we will take our own measures in response.”
He did not elaborate as to what measures Iran might take in retaliation if its oil revenue dries up, echoing Trump's own fondness for the element of surprise: “As President Trump said, I want to keep him guessing.” 


No Ongoing Talks 

As Tehran continues trying to pave a pathway forward with Europe and other parties to the nuclear deal, Zarif was adamant that no talks—on or off the record—were taking place with Washington.
An Iranian parliamentarian, who is on Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, recently claimed there were secret talks going on right now in Oman to try and hash out revisions to the nuclear deal with the United States.
In case of any talks, one theme the US side might be interested in pushing is the fate of several US citizens and residents currently in Iranian jails.
Again, Zarif insisted there were no negotiations underway to try and secure those individuals’ release, “but I’m not ruling out the possibility of negotiations”.
“We’ve done it in the past. We can do it again,” he said.

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