MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti) – Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran, has called new sanctions imposed by the United States on more than 25 companies and individuals illegal, adding that Tehran will circumvent them, BBC reports.
“Of course we bypass sanctions. We are proud that we bypass sanctions because the sanctions are illegal,” Rouhani said during a press conference broadcast by state TV, as quoted by BBC.
On Friday, the US Department of State and the US Department of Treasury imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian and foreign firms and individuals that allegedly violate sanctions regime and support terrorism.
The US State Department has targeted those entities that support illicit Iranian nuclear activities, namely proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, according to the statement published on its website. The US State Department said that fresh sanctions “send a clear message that the United States will act resolutely against attempts to circumvent U.S. sanctions” and warned that those who will not comply will face serious consequences.
The US Treasury imposed sanctions on those “who are involved in expanding Iran’s proliferation program, supporting terrorism in the region, and helping Iran evade U.S. and international sanctions,” according to its press release. The move reflects the agency’s “continuing determination to take action against anyone, anywhere, who violates our sanctions,” stated David S. Cohen, US undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, as quoted by the press release.
The latest round of sanctions comes as Iran and the P5+1 international mediation group are negotiating a comprehensive agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program. The parties failed to sign a deal before the July 20 deadline, set by the interim nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Plan of Action, expired. In November 2013, Iran and P5+1 struck a deal, lifting some sanctions and allowing Tehran to conduct certain nuclear activities in exchange for greater transparency of its nuclear program.
Rouhani insisted that sanctions are “not compatible with the atmosphere of the negotiations” and deepen mistrust, according to AFP. Moreover, “some sanctions like those against drugs or food products are crimes against humanity,” Rouhani said.
Nevertheless, Tehran is determined to continue negotiations until a comprehensive agreement over Iran's nuclear issue is reached. “If there are no excessive demands in the issue and if the opposite side shows loyalty ... we can achieve a final deal,” Rouhani stated, as quoted by BBC. Currently, Iran, the US, Russia, Britain, China, France, and Germany have until November 24 to sign a deal.
It is believed that the amount of enriched uranium Iran will be able to produce after the agreement is reached is the major stumbling block to securing the deal.
Western countries insist that Iran wants to obtain a nuclear weapon while Tehran maintains that its nuclear program is utterly peaceful and is aimed at meeting the country’s growing energy needs.