Russia, China slam new sanctions
US sanctions on Iranian metals are against international norms, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday, warning that Washington would be responsible for Iran’s losses.
“This US measure is against the international commitments of this regime... It is against international norms ... The United States will be responsible for the caused losses,” Abbas Mousavi said.
Mousavi said the illegal measure taken by the US can be prosecuted through the international judicial system as it constitutes a violation of international law.
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered new sanctions on Iran, targeting the Islamic Republic’s export revenues from its industrial metals sector, and vowed to keep squeezing Tehran unless it “fundamentally alters” its policies.
The announcement was made on the anniversary of Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of the United States from a 2015 landmark deal between Tehran and world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for easing some sanctions and hours after Tehran said it would no longer fully comply with the accord.
“Today’s action targets Iran’s revenue from the export of industrial metals – 10 percent of its export economy – and puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated,” Trump said in a statement.
The White House had already acted forcefully to prevent all countries from buying Iran's oil – its crucial money-maker – and said that the steel and mining sector was the country's second-largest source of foreign revenue.
"Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct," Trump said in a statement.
Russia on Thursday denounced the latest US sanctions and said it understood why Iran had decided to suspend some of its commitments – but urged Tehran to "refrain from further steps to curtail the fulfilment of its obligations", while calling on other partners in the deal to meet their promises.
"The United States has just introduced a new package of sanctions affecting the mining industry in Iran. We strongly condemn this step," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Because of the "seriousness of what is happening," Iran and world powers should meet "to determine ways to normalize the situation," the ministry said.
Among the steps that needed to be taken, it said, were moves to facilitate financial transactions and to continue trade and economic cooperation. "We urge everyone not to cut off economic ties, including the purchase of Iranian products, first of all energy."
China also defended its trade ties with Iran, expressing opposition to the new set of US sanctions.
Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday that Tehran and Beijing are important trade partners, and that China will defend the rights of its firms in the face of growing US pressure on Tehran.
He further repudiated Washington’s decision to end sanctions waivers it had granted to the major importers of Iranian oil, including China, warning that the policy will only worsen volatility in global energy markets.
Reuters, AFP and Press TV contribute to this story.