EghtesadOnline: Imposing sanctions on a country's foreign minister signals the failure of diplomacy, Iran's top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif said in reaction to the United States' recent sanctions against him.
"This measure by Americans shows that they have no interest in diplomacy and dialogue … [but it] certainly will not be to our disadvantage," he said at a press conference in Tehran on Monday, ISNA reported.
Washington on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Zarif, which would block any property or interests he has in the United States. He dismissed the action and said it would not affect him or his family as he has no property or interests outside of Iran.
Tehran and Washington have been at odds since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran to push for new negotiations. Iran has refused to talk as long as it is under American pressure, according to Financial Tribune.
The measure was taken against Zarif based on the claim that he does not have a say in Iran's foreign policy and is implementing the agenda of the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. Therefore, any possible negotiation should be conducted with top-level authorities rather than the foreign minister.
"Before sanctioning me, Trump had sanctioned the Leader, so their argument in this regard is baseless … When they have even sanctioned the Leader, who do they want to negotiate with?"
US targeted the Leader with sanctions in late June following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone that had violated its airspace in southern Iran.
A year after the US exit, Iran initiated a reciprocal plan and began reducing its compliance with the nuclear deal, as the remaining signatories were unable to make up for the American sanctions.
Two phases of the plan have been implemented and the third step, according to Iranian officials, will be taken if no development is observed.
Zarif stressed that the third phase is neither the last step nor an exit from the deal, but will be a move within the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the deal's formal name.
"JCPOA is no sacred thing and we will withdraw from it if need be, but at present we do not deem it necessary to exit [the deal]," he added.
Other signatories of the deal have pledged to shield Iran against US measures, but have failed so far to meet Tehran’s core concerns.
Iran has declared that all its nuclear measures will be reversed as soon as the Europeans meet their commitments.
The European Union, according to Zarif, has made 11 commitments to safeguard Iran's JCPOA interests in areas, including oil sale, insurance, aviation, shipping and industrial cooperation, among others, but none has been fulfilled so far.
Europe has devised a mechanism to bypass US sanctions and facilitate trade with Iran on a non-dollar basis. Although the first transactions began after a long delay, it has not addressed Iran's economic woes yet.
Zarif stressed that Iran's expectations are not focused on measures, but on their outcome.
The minimum Europeans could do is to prepare the ground for Iran to sell as much crude as it did prior to the US pullout from the nuclear deal and receive its revenues, he added.