Iranian officials have slammed new US sanctions on the country’s construction sector as yet another attempt to wage “economic terrorism” against the Iranian people.
First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri on Saturday denounced the sanctions as “coercive and unilateral measures” targeting Iranians.
The sanctions are “a clear violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” he told a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Council in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.
“The international community bears responsibility in this regard,” Jahangiri added.
The US imposed sanctions on Iran’s construction sector on Thursday despite an earlier announcement last week claiming that it had created a new mechanism to facilitate “permissible trade” with Tehran.
On Friday, Zarif dismissed the new sanctions, stating that “subjecting construction workers to economic terrorism only manifests maximum failure of ‘maximum pressure’,” referring to Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure” against the country.
The new sanctions are set to make it further difficult for average Iranian households to attain affordable housing after earlier sanctions destabilized Iran’s real estate market last year.
Also denouncing the sanctions, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said the measures demonstrated Washington’s “weakness and incompetence” in diplomacy.
“The US should return to implementing its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) instead of embracing its self-made illusions and imposing repetitive and rhetorical sanctions which will never realize its objectives,” Mousavi said.
The embargoes mark the latest round of Washington’s sweeping sanctions against Iran after the US government unilaterally withdrew from the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions previously lifted under the agreement last year.
Iran has reciprocally suspended many of its nuclear commitments, as permitted under the deal.
During his Saturday remarks, Jahangiri said despite Washington’s withdrawal from the deal, Iran has always expressed willingness to engage in talks with other signatories of the agreement.
He said Iran would return to fulfilling its JCPOA commitments if other signatories commit to theirs.
“It is clear that the continuation of the JCPOA can only be achieved by attaining a balance between the commitments fulfilled by all sides of the agreement and guaranteeing that the Islamic Republic of Iran receive the economic incentives it was promised under the deal,” Jahangiri said.
The Iranian vice president described the JCPOA as an “efficient and successful model for multilateral diplomacy” that was undermined by the current US administration in a bid to prevent international economic engagement with Iran.
Iran welcomes multilateral cooperation
Jahangiri further said Iran attaches exceptional importance to multilateral cooperation and that the SCO could become a flag bearer for multilateral regional collaboration.
“Iran regards regional and international cooperation to be crucial in ensuring international peace and security and combating terrorism collectively,” he said.
Jahangiri went on to highlight Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) — which seeks to facilitate regional cooperation without foreign military presence in the Persian Gulf region — as a suitable opportunity to achieve sustainable peace, strengthen maritime security and facilitate regional and international trade.
The Iranian vice president added that economic development required international collaboration and that Iran, having invested heavily in trade corridors passing through the country, is ready to cooperate in such regional initiatives.