Senior officials in Tehran cautioned the West against imposing new sanctions, and said further embargos will spoil the negotiations underway between Iran and the world powers.
“Our position is completely clear and the approval of any new sanctions would mean ending the current negotiations,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday.
Asked about the US Congress’s decision to approve a new bill against Iran, she said, “We have announced earlier that such measures are against the good will, confidence-building, the path of agreement and the current trend of the negotiations and our position is fully explicit, transparent and clear.”
“Any measure adopted in this respect will be against the trend of the negotiations and will push the negotiations into failure,” Afkham warned.
In relevant remarks late December, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator in the talks with the world powers Seyed Abbas Araqchi warned Washington to avoid any new pressure against Tehran, saying new sanctions would kill the talks.
Addressing a large number of Iranian university students in Tehran, the Iranian negotiator referred to the attempts made by certain parties in the US to ruin the talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) by intensifying sanctions against Tehran, and warned, “Approval of any bill to impose (fresh) sanctions on Iran will stop the Geneva negotiations.”
On November 24, Iran and the Group 5+1 sealed the six-month Joint Plan of Action to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran, continue talks with the country to settle all problems between the two sides and avoid imposing new sanctions against Iran.
Iran and the six world powers had an expert meeting in Vienna, Austria, on December 9.
The negotiations were scheduled to continue until December 13, but the Iranian negotiators cut short the talks and returned to Iran in protest at the US breach of the Geneva agreement by blacklisting a dozen companies and individuals for evading Washington’s sanctions.
US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to soothe Tehran’s anger over Washington’s fresh sanctions in a phone call to Zarif earlier this month.
Iran and the six world powers resumed their expert talks in Geneva on December 19.