Wed Jan 20, 2016 03:15PM
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (© AFP)
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (© AFP)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned the "illegal" US sanctions against Tehran over its missile program, saying the move shows Washington’s "addiction to coercion."

“We believe these sanctions are uncalled for. We believe the sanctions are illegal. They violate basic principles,” Zarif said on Wednesday, in an interview with The Associated Press in Switzerland, where he is attending the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“It shows that the United States has an addiction which has been very difficult for it to overcome,” Zarif said, specifying “its addiction to pressure, addiction to coercion, addiction to sanctions.”

The US Department of the Treasury said in a statement on January 17 that it has imposed new sanctions on several individuals and firms over Iran's ballistic missile program, claiming that the program “poses a significant threat to regional and global security.”

The statement said five Iranian citizens and a network of companies based in the United Arab Emirates and China were added to a US blacklist.

Last October, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully test-fired its first guided ballistic missile dubbed Emad. Washington slammed the test, claiming the projectile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. It vowed to respond with more sanctions.

The new sanctions came only a day after Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - plus Germany started to implement the nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), they had reached in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on July 14, 2015.

After the JCPOA went into effect, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the United Nations Security Council and the United States were lifted. Iran in return has put some limitations on its nuclear activities.

In his Wednesday interview, Zarif said the prospect of restoring bilateral diplomatic relations between Tehran and Washington is “far away” despite the landmark nuclear deal.

“Despite lingering tensions between Iran and the United States, despite the nuclear deal', Zarif said, “the United States can take steps to overcome this mistrust.”