TEHRAN – A number of Iranian officials have strongly criticized the new U.S. Senate’s sanctions bill against Tehran, saying it shows Washington’s “despair” and “inherent hostility” toward the Islamic Republic.
“The U.S. Senate’s approval of new sanctions against Iran was not unpredictable, due to the Senate’s record of hostility toward the Iranian nation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Friday.
Officials have said the sanctions violate the spirit and content of the international nuclear agreement signed between Iran and great powers.
Qassemi said the U.S. government must comply with its commitments under the nuclear accord, noting Washington cannot breach the international agreement.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and the European Union signed the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015. Under the deal, officially known as the JCPOA, Iran agreed to slow down its nuclear program in return for the termination of economic and financial sanctions.
Like Iran, Qassemi said, the other parties to the JCPOA need to remain committed to obligations under the international accord.
The official further said that Tehran will soon take countermeasures against the sanctions move.
On Thursday, the Senate approved the sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and alleged human rights violations. The U.S. legislation still must pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump to become law.
Qassemi said Iran’s missile program does not violate the UN Resolution 2231 which endorsed the nuclear agreement.
The resolution calls upon Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
Iran has repeatedly insisted that its missile program is purely defensive.
Only two senators voted no to the measure while 98 agreed to it. Republican Senator Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, were the only two “no” votes.
‘Clear violation of the nuclear deal’
A senior member of parliament on Saturday condemned the move, saying it’s a “clear violation” of the nuclear deal.
“The U.S. Senate’s recent approval of (new) sanctions against Iran is undoubtedly in clear violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and contrary to its text and spirit,” said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.
“Since the international document has been signed by all permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany and the European Union, all these signatories, too, should voice their opposition to the move and U.S. breach (of the nuclear deal),” Tasnim quoted the MP as saying.
Boroujerdi further said that Iran will take necessary measures to counteract the sanctions bill.
The Iranian ambassador to the UK, who was involved in the nuclear negotiations with the West, also said approval of new sanctions indicates Washington’s despair and hostility over the failure of U.S. and its allies’ policies in the Middle East.
In a post published on his Telegram and Instagram accounts on Friday evening, Hamid Baeedinejad summarized the main points of the new legislation as:
1. Imposes sanctions on persons engaged in efforts to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer, or use ballistic missiles.
2. Places sanctions on persons who kill or torture those who wish to exercise or defend internationally recognized human rights or wish to expose illegal activity in Iran.
3. Imposes terrorism-related sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.
4. Places sanctions on persons who violate the arms embargo placed on Iran.
Baidinejad said although the authors of the draft bill had tried not to violate the JCPOA, in the days leading to the Senate voting on it the content changed and new aspects were added to it.
Ali Akbar Velayati, the senior foreign policy advisor to the Leader, also voiced opposition to the action, saying the U.S. is covering up its failures in the region by imposing new sanctions against Iran.
Velayati named Washington’s defeats against the Islamic Republic in Syria and Iraq as the ulterior motive behind the move.
Mostafa Kavakebian, a parliamentarian representing Tehran, said the bill has targeted the only democracy in the region, adding that it’s a violation of the nuclear deal.
Also, the political director of the presidential office has censured the new sanctions, saying the move shows U.S. opposition to democracy in Iran.
Washington’s hostility toward Tehran increases as democracy is boosting in the Islamic Republic, Hamid Aboutalebi said in a post on his Twitter account.
Source : Tehran Times