Iran calls the recent US sanctions against a few Iranian entities a very wrong move, but says Tehran still honors the interim nuclear deal it reached with the Sextet over Iran's nuclear energy program.
“That was a very wrong move,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview with CBS News published on Sunday.
“We are committed to the plan of action and the implementation of [the] Geneva [deal] - but we believe it takes two to tango,” the Iranian foreign minister added.
The US Departments of Treasury and State on December 12 issued new sanctions against a number of companies and individuals for “providing support for” Iran’s nuclear program.
According to the November 24 deal between Iran and the Sextet – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany - no new sanctions should be imposed against the Islamic Republic in the course of six months.
Under the Geneva deal, the Sextet have undertaken to lift some of the existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during six months.
The interim agreement is aimed at paving the way for the full resolution of the dispute between the West and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.
“The process has been derailed, the process has not died,” Zarif noted.
“We are trying to put it back [on track] and to correct the path, and continue the negotiations because I believe there is a lot at stake for everybody.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham on December 13 criticized the sanctions as “unconstructive, repetitive and useless,” saying that the US administration is fully responsible for the consequences of such indiscreet measures.
Also when asked whether he had information about Robert Levinson, an American national who went missing in the Islamic Republic in 2007, Zarif said, “I have no idea. What we know is that he is not incarcerated in Iran.”
“We have no traces of him in Iran,” he said.
The AP revealed on December 12 that Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared during a visit to Iran’s southern Kish Island in the Persian Gulf in March 2007, had actually been recruited by the US spy agency CIA to run unauthorized espionage operations.
According to the AP, the CIA paid USD 2.5 million to Levinson’s family in a bid to pre-empt a revealing lawsuit.