Iran blasts new Western sanctions | Pakistan Today

Iran blasts new Western sanctions

An angry Iran and its powerful ally Russia on Tuesday slammed new Western sanctions imposed on Tehran over its suspect nuclear programme, saying they were illegal and futile. The measures against Iran’s financial, petrochemical and energy sectors announced Monday by the United States, Britain and Canada amounted to no more than “propaganda and psychological warfare,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said. They were “reprehensible” and would prove ineffective, he said. Iran’s parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, warned Britain and other Western nations “should wait for the Iranian reaction” to the sanctions. Russia — which with China had blocked any possibility of the Western steps going before the UN Security Council for approval — said the sanctions were “unacceptable and against international law.”
The declarations set the stage for a hardening of diplomacy over Iran and its nuclear drive. The issue has already generated speculation that Israel is mulling air strikes against Iranian nuclear sites. The United States and its allies cited a November 8 report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency asserting “credible” evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons research as justification for the new sanctions.
President Barack Obama said in a statement Monday: “As long as Iran continues down this dangerous path, the United States will continue to find ways, both in concert with our partners and through our own actions, to isolate and increase the pressure upon the Iranian regime.” The country is already subject to four sets of UN sanctions designed to force it to give up uranium enrichment, along with additional, unilateral US and EU sanctions. The latest sanctions put more pressure especially on Iran’s financial sector, with the US and Britain invoking anti-terrorist laws to target the central bank and other financial institutions. Washington has declared Iran of “primary money-laundering concern” — a label that could dissuade non-US banks and businesses dealing with it under threat of US reprisals. London said it was “ceasing all contact” between its financial system and that of Iran, while Canada said it was halting “virtually all transactions” with the Islamic republic. France said it, too, was “in favour of new unprecedented sanctions” and called for an embargo against Iran’s most vital export: oil. Diplomats said EU sanctions on some 200 Iranian firms and individuals were being considered and would likely be announced at an EU foreign ministers meeting on December 1.
Russia’s foreign ministry said the Western move “seriously complicates moves for constructive dialogue with Tehran” on its nuclear activities. “We believe that the constant strengthening of sanctions has long ago gone beyond the bounds of decisions on non-proliferation tasks surrounding the Iranian nuclear programme,” it said.

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