Part 2: Iran Responds to U.S. Sanctions

August 6, 2018
Updated

On August 6, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the reimposition of U.S. sanctions. “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.” Unlike before the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran will not face U.N., E.U., and U.S. sanctions. Zarif argued that the United States is isolated in this case. “Today, the entire world has declared they are not in line with U.S. policies against Iran.”

 

In a televised interview, President Hassan Rouhani said the Trump administration wants to “wage a psychological war” against Iran. In response to President Trump’s willingness to meet with him with no preconditions, Rouhani said negotiating while under sanctions would be meaningless. “If somebody puts a knife in his opponent or enemy’s arm and says we want to negotiate, the answer is that they must first pull out the knife and then come to the negotiation table.” 

The U.S. measures, set to take effect on August 7, will include sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector, a key industry, its trade in gold and precious metals, and transactions related to the rial. A second round of sanctions in November will target Iranian oil exports and transactions with the Central Bank. The following are excerpted remarks by Iranian leaders.

 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

 

President Hassan Rouhani

“U.S. officials make contradictory remarks.”

“Those who are in office in Iran today have been working with the motto of interaction, negotiation and the negotiation table since the start and they have even negotiated with Americans and others.”

“We negotiated for two years and reached an agreement that the Americans were more or less living up to; others were committed to it, and Iran completely lived up to its commitments.”

“If somebody claims that they are willing to negotiate, they have to observe the basics, the first one of which is honesty that the two sides must believe in, as well as reaching, a conclusion.”

“If somebody puts a knife in his opponent or enemy’s arm and says we want to negotiate, the answer is that they must first pull out the knife and then come to the negotiation table.”

“I believe that their want to wage a psychological war and create skepticism in the Iranian people to be able to use it in the coming Congressional elections. So, Trump’s remarks are aimed at taking advantage of them in Congressional elections.”

“We negotiated with the current US administration as well, but they themselves left the table and what they do is that they are against the people and national interests of the Iranian nation; therefore, if there is honesty, Iran has always welcomed negotiation.”

“Negotiation at the same time with sanctions is meaningless and these sanctions are targeting Iranian children and people.”

“I have no preconditions. If the U.S. administration is ready today, we’re ready to negotiate with them about the compensation that they must pay to Iranians since 1953 [ a reference to the CIA-backed coup against the elected government].”

“Americans first sought to urge the other P5+1 countries [parties to the nuclear deal] to accompany them, and for the same reason, Trump called on his partners on January 12 to come and renegotiate the deal, but he did not succeed, and nobody responded to it positively, and he had to exit the deal alone.”

“The U.S. goal was to get Iran to immediately withdraw from the deal so that they could take the case to the Security Council; we have an achievement, and it is Resolution 2231 based on which the previous sanctions were lifted.”

“Secondly, the resolution urges all countries to support the deal and what has been agreed upon has been endorsed as a document and an international treaty in the United Nations Security Council.”

“The United States did not want to face Iran alone for sanctions, but wanted to force the whole world to boycott Iran. Trump wanted to take all of these achievements from us, and it is already calling for sanctions against Iran, but it has been unsuccessful.”

“Meanwhile, Europeans were opposed to this, and today, at the first step of the U.S. embargo, Europeans stood up against the United States, declaring that the law prohibited sanctions or blockade, saying that any company working with Iran would be boycotted if they listen to the U.S. call for sanctions and boycott Iran.”

“We are not alone all over the world, that is, all the countries around the world, with the exception of a few countries, support Iran, and consider Iran as a committed nation which can be trusted.”

—Aug. 6, 2018, in an interview on state television

 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

 

“Today is the day when [U.S.] sanctions are reimposed on Iran. However, nothing will happen. They have already done what they wanted to do.”

“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.”

“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?”

“Who would believe that Trump seeks to negotiate with Iran?”

“Today, the entire world has declared they are not in line with U.S. policies against Iran.”

“Talk to anyone, anywhere in the world and they will tell you that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, [U.S. President Donald] Trump and [Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed] bin Salman are isolated, not Iran.”

“Of course, American bullying, and political pressures may cause some disruption, but the fact is that in the current world, America is isolated.”

—Aug. 6, 2018, in remarks to the press in Tehran

 

“No. No meeting [between Rouhani and Trump] is expected to take place [in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly opening].”

“The Americans are not honest. In addition, they are grappling with an addiction, their addiction to sanction will not allow talks.”

—Aug. 11, 2018, in remarks to the press

 

Ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshroo

For the first time in the history of the UN, the United States – a permanent member of the security council with veto power – is engaging in penalising nations across the entire world; not for violating a security council resolution, rather, for abiding by it. The resolution in question, UN security council resolution 2231, was authored (including by the US itself) and passed unanimously by the council. …

What the Trump administration has done, through threatening economic revenge against the countries that continue their economic ties with Iran, is to weaponise its economy. It is a clear rejection of diplomacy and multilateralism; a clear call for confrontation rather than cooperation; an open invitation to resorting to logic of force instead of force of logic. Such reckless and menacing behaviour by the Trump administration renders it responsible for the ensuing adverse consequences, and it must be held accountable for such blatant material breach of its obligations under the JCPOA; for the consequences of its wrongful acts that fly in the face of the UN charter and international law; and for the damages and irreparable harm it has caused to Iran and its international business relations.

—Aug. 8, 2018, in an op-ed in The Guardian

 

Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani

“The sanctions period can lead to the internal modernization of country’s economy.”

“During the imposed war, they didn’t give us weapons and the country entered into action to make weapons, which caused the country to become more resilient in defense, and now everyone says ‘don’t become engaged with Iran, because it has facilities that can damage the opponent’ and in the economy it can also be that way and have a good leap.”

—Aug. 7, 2018, in remarks to a parliamentary committee

 

 

Updated