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US sanctions are 'major setback' - Iran's Zarif speaks out

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US sanctions are 'major setback' - Iran's Zarif speaks out
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Iran has said it will continue talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear programme, despite a US move to blacklist Iranian companies for evading sanctions.

But Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called the actions of the US Treasury a “major setback” in an exclusive interview with Euronews correspondent Olaf Bruns, on the sidelines of an EU delegation meeting in Tehran.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister: “It shows a lack of understanding of how to proceed in order to resolve the nuclear issue. Some people are wedded to the idea that pressure will produce results. They are wrong. Pressure has produced 18,000 centrifuges in Iran. So if they want to continue that road – it is open to them, but it doesn’t produce any results.

“Now that the international community, the United States government and the rest of 5+1 [the five members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany] and Iran have decided to move forward with a path towards resolution of this issue. I think that people should abandon failed policies, failed approaches and adopt new policies. So these activities derail the process, but I think there is a political will on the part of everybody to make sure that the process continues. Iran will react to any action that we consider to be unacceptable or inconducive to a resolution.”

Olaf Bruns, euronews: “Last week you told Time Magazine that if the US decides on new sanctions, the deal is dead. Did you change your mind?”

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister: “No, I didn’t. If the US Congress adopts new sanctions- or the US administration, through executive order, decides to impose new sanctions, it would run counter to the letter of the Geneva Agreement and that would mean that we don’t have a deal, because the deal has been violated.

“I believe that the actions that had been taken have been unhelpful by the US Treasury Department, but it does not mean that they have violated in specific terms the letter of the agreement. It means that they have taken action that would question their intention to resolve this issue through negotiations and that is a major setback. But it doesn’t mean that they have taken action to kill the process.”