With Iran under pressure, Foreign Minister tells CBS News U.S. sanctions “hurt,” but won’t work
Iran under pressure, Foreign Minister tells CBS News U.S. sanctions “hurt,” but won’t work
In the Iranian capital, a pious crowd assembled on cue for Friday prayers. From the pulpit there was spiritual guidance, mixed with the usual anti-American rhetoric. All Iranians — be they religious or not — are worried right now about punishing American sanctions due to kick in on November 4. The measures, imposed by President Trump as he pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, are aimed at preventing Iran from selling its oil around the world.
The worries have already sent Iran’s currency plunging, and commodity prices soaring. But to no one’s surprise, the Iranian government is putting a bold face on it, insisting that no economic penalties imposed from Washington can force the Islamic Republic’s hand.
We asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif if his country was ready and able to withstand a loss which could amount to more than a third of its vital oil revenue.
Do “sanctions never change policy?”
“Sanctions will have an economic impact, but they will not change policy. The United States must learn that,” Zariff told CBS News in Tehran on Sunday. “The U.S. has an addiction to sanctions and they believe that the sanctions are the panacea that resolve all the problems. They don’t. They in fact hurt people and we have an obligation as a government to minimize the impact on the people. But sanctions never change policy.”
In fact, many analysts believe harsh sanctions against Iran back in 2013 did in fact help draw Iran to the negotiating table. The result was the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed in 2015 by Iran, the U.S. China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union — aka, the Iran nuclear deal.
President Trump deciding to pull out of that multilateral agreement was a personal blow to Zarif, who, at least for now, said Iran will continue working with Europe, China and Russia to try and keep the deal together. European nations are already working on a mechanism designed specifically to let them continue trade with Iran, including oil purchases.
It is clear that Iran sees some benefit in those efforts alone, possibly regardless of their outcome.
“It is the first time that the Europeans are not only making statements against U.S., policy but are developing a mechanism to avoid these sanctions and to compensate for the sanctions,” Zarif said.
“I didn’t spend two and a half years in negotiating this deal in order to simply walk away from it, because I know that there won’t be a better deal. There will never be a better deal for the United States,” Zarif said. “I can assure President Trump with all his negotiating skills that this is the best deal that was possible. The best deal for us. The best deal for Europe. The best deal for the United States the best deal for Russia and China and the best deal for the international community.”
Read More: CBS News
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