EU move to re-impose bans defies logic: Iran FM

Mohammad Javad Zarif

“If the West really thinks that sanctions are effective, why is it negotiating with us?” Zarif asked.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the European Union’s move to put the country’s biggest tanker firm back on its sanctions list defies logic.

“Their move is against logic because the West has not yet realized that sanctions are a kind of liability rather than an asset for them, [with] which they cannot advance their objectives,” Zarif told Mehr news agency.

On February 12, European Union governments agreed to put Iran’s biggest tanker firm back on a list of sanctioned companies.

The EU move to put back the Iranian company on its sanctions list comes as Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany – are in talks to reach a comprehensive final agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Zarif said that a serious deal would seem unlikely as long as the US and EU regard sanctions as an effective way to press ahead with their objectives.

“If they really think that their sanctions are effective, [then] why do they negotiate with us? They [can] continue their sanctions,” he added.

Iran’s nuclear talks

Zarif reaffirmed Iran’s stance that a nuclear deal would be reached only if the two negotiating sides agree on all issues.

He said that the two sides can reach a comprehensive agreement once certain key issues are settled.

“In my opinion, we should definitely agree on all details by [Iranian calendar month of] Tir (beginning June 22). We cannot simply issue a political statement in Tir and then wait to agree on details. That would be an endless process that benefits no one,” Zarif said.

The senior Iranian official once again stressed that a comprehensive nuclear agreement would be possible if the opposite side demonstrated political will.

“If an agreement cannot be reached, it is because the other side lacks the political will to do so or because it cannot stand up to the Zionist lobby and pressure groups or because it wants to make excessive demands,” Zarif said.

Since an interim deal was sealed in the Swiss city of Geneva in November 2013, the negotiating sides have missed two self-imposed deadlines to ink a final comprehensive agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran and the P5+1 have set July 1 as the deadline for their current talks.

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