News ID: 253905
Published: 0232 GMT June 08, 2019

Iran says new US sanctions show talks offer 'hollow'

Iran says new US sanctions show talks offer 'hollow'

Iran said on Saturday that new US sanctions on its petrochemical industry show the hollowness of President Donald Trump’s claims to be open to fresh negotiations with Tehran.

“Only one week was needed for the US president's claim that he was ready to negotiate with Iran to be proven hollow,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said.

His statement came after the US Treasury announced new sanctions on Friday against the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) which is Iran's largest and most profitable petrochemicals group

Trump said Thursday he would be willing to reopen talks as long as Iran agreed to give up its nuclear program. But Tehran ruled out talks until the United States is ready to "return to normal."

Mousavi called the new sanctions another instance of "economic terrorism" and a continuation of US "enmity" against Iran.

"America's maximum pressure policy is a failed policy tried numerous times before by the country's previous presidents. This is a wrong path and the US government can be assured that it would not achieve any of its goals set for this policy,” Mousavi said.

“All countries have a responsibility to react to the blatant violation of fundamental principles of international law and not let the achievements of the international community regarding multilateralism fade by US bullying and unilateral measures,” he added.

Trump antagonized Iran and dismayed key US allies last year when he exited a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers under which the Islamic Republic curbed its nuclear program in return for an easing of most international sanctions.

Trump denounced the deal, signed before he took office, as flawed and reimposed tough financial sanctions on Iran that were subsequently extended to its crucial oil exports.

On April 8, it designated Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corp a “foreign terrorist organization,” paving the way for sanctions against their sources of funding.

Announcing the sanctions against the PGPIC on Friday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they were intended as a “warning that we will continue to target holding groups and companies in the petrochemical sector and elsewhere that provide financial lifelines” to the IRGC.

The PGPIC group holds 40 percent of Iran’s petrochemical production capacity and is responsible for 50 percent of its petrochemical exports, the Treasury said.

Three analysts and a former Treasury official told Reuters that the latest sanctions will likely have only a modest effect because non-US companies already shy away from doing business with Iran’s petrochemicals sector because of existing sanctions.

Under sanctions reimposed on Nov. 5, anyone carrying out a significant transaction in Iranian petrochemical products could already be hit by a menu of sanctions, including being barred from the United States.

Friday’s step makes the PGPIC and the 39 affiliates “specially designated nationals,” a status that effectively blocks US persons from dealing with them. Further, anyone who does so themselves risks becoming a “specially designated national.”

Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States in recent weeks after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East, including an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles, in a show of force against what US officials call Iranian threats to US troops and interests in the region.

AFP and Press TV also contributed to this story. 



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