Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that the new sanctions against Tehran by the US are damaging already frayed Tehran-Washington ties.
Zarif made the remarks on Tuesday in an interview with CBS after the administration of US President Donald Trump said it was imposing new economic sanctions against Iran over the Islamic Republic’s missile program.
“It violates the spirit of the deal. We will look at it and see whether it violates the letter of the deal, and we will act accordingly,” said Zarif.
The US’ announcement came just hours after the White House admitted that Tehran was complying with a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement it signed with the P5+1 group of countries.
Zarif said that the US is trying to “poison the international atmosphere” with the fresh sanctions.
“The international community has read this very loud and clear and continue to deal with Iran without much attention to this theater,” he added.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – plus Germany signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
Under the agreement, limits were put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.
The UN Security Council later unanimously endorsed a resolution that effectively turned the JCPOA into international law.
In relation to renegotiating the JCPOA, Iran’s top diplomat noted, “This is a multilateral deal, approved by the Security Council, and it’s not a bilateral deal to be withdrawn from or to be renegotiated.”
Zarif also stressed that instead of going after countries which are supporting terrorism in the Middle East Trump continues to insist the JCPOA is a bad deal.
“These are the countries that are producing terrorists for you. And the United States is going after Iran. I don’t know why,” Zarif noted.
US travel ban ‘really repugnant’
Referring to Trump’s ban on refugees and travelers from the six Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Zarif said that “What the United States has done against the Iranian people over the past several months have been really repugnant.”
Trump issued a revised travel ban on March 6 after his initial directive signed in January was blocked by a federal judge in Seattle, Washington, and upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, California.
“I certainly think it is up to the US government to stop sending all these hostile signals,” Zarif added.