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Zarif: Sanctions Will Strengthen Iran’s Resolve to Resist

Zarif: Sanctions Will Strengthen Iran’s Resolve to ResistZarif: Sanctions Will Strengthen Iran’s Resolve to Resist

Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif stressed that the restrictive measures adopted by Washington against Tehran will strengthen the Iranian resolve to resist.
Zarif stressed that Iran will not only survive the newly-reimposed US sanctions, but will thrive.
The administration of US President Donald Trump reimposed this month sanctions covering banking, oil exports and shipping, aimed at compelling Iran to modify its Middle East policy.
Speaking after meeting British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in Tehran on Monday, Zarif said Iranians are used to pressure and to resisting pressure. 
"Sanctions always hurt and they hurt ordinary people, but sanctions seldom change policy, and that has been the problem with US sanctions all the time. They do not take people back to the negotiating table. In fact, they strengthen the resolve to resist,” he said.
“We will certainly survive. We will not only survive; we will thrive. We have tried to minimize the impact on the population but the ordinary people are going to suffer; the economy is going to suffer.”
Speaking to the Guardian, Zarif said he was confident the Iranian oil industry would find markets, even though the US measures have pushed down exports sharply. 
“There are always markets for oil, it depends on the conditions and the price,” he said. “I believe Iran will always sell oil.”
Zarif also challenged claims by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the sanctions had been constructed to exempt humanitarian supplies, such as food and medicine.
“The US has imposed financial sanctions on Iran. When you want to transfer money, the bank does not ask whether it goes for food or other items—that is why sanctions always hit food and medicine," he said.
“The US is not living up to its promises. We believe all sanctions are unlawful and against UN Security Council resolutions, but the US is not even truthful to the commitment they have made.”

Frustration

Zarif said Iran was frustrated by the slow pace of EU moves to help European companies that want to continue trading with Iran.
A clearing house known as a Special Purpose Vehicle, designed to allow European companies that trade with Iran to bypass the sanctions, is due to be set up in the next few months. It has been seen as critical to reassuring Tehran that the EU wishes to reward Iran for remaining in the 2015 deal on its nuclear program by expanding business with the country.
“What is important is that Europe has made the political commitment but, unfortunately, as far as practicalities are concerned, it has been very slow,” Zarif said. 
“Hunt assured me that the UK believes in the nuclear deal, but we also need to see some action.”
On Yemen, where Iran stands by the Houthi forces who fight to repel a violent Saudi-led military campaign, Zarif said Tehran has been pushing for a ceasefire for years.
“The humanitarian nightmare cannot continue. All the Yeminis are prepared to come to the negotiating table provided the [Saudi-led] coalition enables them to do so,” he said.

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