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Sat Feb 9, 2013 5:31PM
File photo shows equipment inside Iran's Natanz nuclear facility.

File photo shows equipment inside Iran's Natanz nuclear facility.

An Iranian deputy foreign minister has downplayed sanctions against the Islamic Republic as “futile” and “unconstructive.” “Sanctioning Iran is futile,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Ali Asghar Khaji said on Saturday, adding that the time for imposing economic sanctions to bring other countries to their knees is over. The Iranian deputy foreign minister stated that the dual-track approach of sanctions and pressure is “unconstructive,” adding that embargoes against the Islamic Republic are doing more damage to those countries that have imposed them on Iran. The United States, Israel and some of their allies have falsely accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Using the unfounded allegation as pretext, the US and its European allies have imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Iran has vehemently rejected the allegation against its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Tehran’s nuclear energy program has been diverted toward military objectives. AR/SS