Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif promised on Monday that the new US sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which have taken effect as of August 6, will have no serious impact on the Iranian economy.
“Today is the day when [US] sanctions are re-imposed on Iran. However, nothing will happen. They have already done what they wanted to do,” Zarif said, adding that the impact of US sanctions is more of a psychological type.
He made the remarks in an address to a group of Iranian journalists and reporters on Monday in a ceremony to mark the National Journalists’ Day in Tehran.
“I believe we will manage to pass this critical juncture as well, as we did in the past. The difference is that the current juncture is not as difficult as the previous ones, because now only three or four countries are standing against us, but once a huge number of countries used to be against Iran,” he added.
He further pointed to US President Donald Trump’s call for dialogue with Iran, and described it as part of a psychological game.
“I ask those who claim to be seeking to improve their relations with Iran: why were the bans on sale of passenger planes to Iran the first sanctions you re-imposed on Iran? Weren’t they supposed to be used by Iranian people?”
Zarif said the main goal pursued by the US, Saudi Arabia, and the Israeli regime is to create psychological tension in Iran.
“Who would believe that Trump seeks to negotiate with Iran,” Zarif asked.
If the US really wanted to hold talks with Iran, it had the chance to do so when the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the nuclear talks, if successful, could set a good precedent for Iran-US talks on other issues as well, the Iranian top diplomat said.
However, he added, Trump annulled everything in a short interview.
Zarif said that the US president must at least prove that sitting for talks is worth the time.
He further noted that the leaders of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel were isolated in their hostility towards Iran.
“Today, the entire world has declared they are not in line with US policies against Iran,” Zarif said.
“Talk to anyone, anywhere in the world and they will tell you that (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu, (US President Donald) Trump and (Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed) bin Salman are isolated, not Iran,” he said.
“Of course, American bullying and political pressures may cause some disruption, but the fact is that in the current world, America is isolated.”
Saudi Arabia and Israel, Iran’s key regional rivals, are among the only countries to strongly support the re-imposition of US sanctions.
The other parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – say Iran was abiding by its commitments and have vowed to salvage the deal by ensuring economic benefits continue to flow to the country.
The European Union said in a statement Monday that the bloc deeply regretted the US re-imposition of sanctions and vowed immediate steps to protect European companies.
The statement by EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany said it would also work to keep “effective financial channels” open with Iran.
The EU said it would now swiftly bring in legal cover for firms in the 28-nation bloc “engaged in legitimate business with Iran”, after the Trump administration rejected European calls for an exemption.
“This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.”
The “blocking statute” forbids EU firms from complying with US sanctions, allowing them to recover damages from such penalties and nullifying any foreign court rulings against them.
“The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas,” the EU statement said.