New US Sanctions Discredit Geneva Deal: MP

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Iranian lawmaker on Saturday said the White House decision to put more than a dozen companies and people onto a blacklist for trying to evade sanctions against Iran was a wrong move that ran counter to the spirit of the Geneva document the US signed onto in late November.

New US Sanctions Discredit Geneva Deal: MP

“Imposing new sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran was a wrong act, which violates the spirit of the Geneva deal and is grossly unacceptable,” Member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Ahmad Shohani told Tasnim.

He said that such sanctions "definitely have a negative impact on the Iranian public opinion" and damage the trust of the Iranian officials.

Shohani referred to the future round of nuclear talks between Iran and six major world powers, saying that the blacklistings make Iran more suspicious of the intents of the US and EU, causing it to adopt a tougher line in the negotiations.

On Thursday, the US Treasury and State departments issued new sanctions against more than a dozen companies and individuals for evading US sanctions against Iran. The blacklisting is widely seen as an attempt to head off moves in Congress to impose additional sanctions that would be in clear breach of the Geneva agreement.

This comes weeks after Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program based on which the world powers agreed to suspend some non-essential sanctions and to imposed no new nuclear-related bans in return for Tehran's decision to freeze parts of its nuclear activities and to allow more inspection of its nuclear facilities.

During the half-year period, Iran and the G5+1 are due to negotiate a comprehensive deal with the aim of resolving for good the standoff over Iran's nuclear program after a decade of on-off meetings and failed attempts.

The two sides are still in talks over how to implement the November deal. On Thursday, Iran's delegation left talks with representatives of the G5+1 in Vienna on the implementation of the deal  after the US expanded its sanctions blacklist, with Iranian officials arguing the new measures are in breach of the agreement brokered in Geneva last month.

Senior administration officials argued that Thursday's blacklisting of 19 firms and persons was carried out within the framework of the existing sanctions regime and did not amount to new measures. 

The fresh anti-Iran sanctions has already drawn condemnation from various Iranian authorities.

“Unfortunately, we are witnessing serious confusion in the approach, decisions and remarks of American officials, and the US administration is fully responsible for the consequences of (these) indiscreet measures,” Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Friday.

“The onus for consequences of such indiscreet measures is all on the US administration,” she warned.

In relevant comment on Friday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi also censured the US decision to issue new sanctions on Tehran, saying the move has violated the spirit of a nuclear deal reached with major powers in Geneva last month.

"We are evaluating the situation and Iran will react accordingly to the new sanctions imposed on 19 companies and individuals. It is against the spirit of the Geneva deal," Araqchi said.

"We are evaluating the situation and will make the appropriate response."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier warned that any further sanctions against the country would kill the recent nuclear deal.

“The entire deal is dead. We do not like to negotiate under duress. And if Congress adopts sanctions, it shows lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on part of the United States,” Zarif said.

Reaction to the latest US decision has not been limited to Iranian officials . Russian foreign ministry has warned that new US sanctions against Iran could negatively affect the implementation of Tehran’s nuclear deal with the six world powers.

“Widening American 'blacklists' could seriously complicate the fulfillment of the Geneva agreement, which proposes easing the sanctions regime," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, said in a Friday statement.

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