1247 GMT February 19, 2020
Speaking to reporters on his arrival in New Delhi on Saturday, Zarif referred to the US Senate’s Thursday vote to extend the so-called Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) and said the legislation has no executive value.
“What was done at the Senate, even if it is signed off on by America’s president, has no executive effect and from the standpoint of the international community, it shows the lack of credibility of the US government, which acts against its commitments,” Zarif said, ISNA reported.
The US Senate on Thursday voted to extend the ISA that dates back to the 1990s and authorizes the US president to potentially impose sanctions on US entities that do business with Iran. The US House of Representatives had also voted to extend the ISA earlier last month.
The law was originally introduced on the unfounded grounds that Iran was pursuing a non-civilian nuclear program.
The ISA has become a source of renewed tension between Iran and the United States. The two countries, along with five other states and the European Union, ended a decades-long dispute over the Iranian nuclear program when they reached a nuclear deal back in July 2015.
The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, stipulates that all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran be lifted and no new nuclear-related sanctions be imposed as long as Iran fulfills a range of commitments of its own, including certain limits to its nuclear program and enhanced access to international monitors to Iranian nuclear facilities.
Numerous reports by the US administration and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has been tasked with monitoring the technical implementation of the JCPOA, have confirmed Iranian compliance.
The votes on the ISA at the US Congress, however, renewed speculation that new sanctions were to be imposed.
The White House’s Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said Friday he “would expect” US President Barack Obama to sign the ISA.
Inside the legislation, Schultz added, "it includes a provision to allow the Secretary of State to waive relevant nuclear-related sanctions.”
The authorization of more sanctions is, however, considered a violation of the spirit of the Iran deal.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned last month that Iran would consider the extension of the ISA a breach of the JCPOA and would respond accordingly.