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Iran says has found ways to deal with US sanctions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi

Iran has played down new US sanctions against the country, saying Washington's campaign of pressure against Tehran has already failed.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Saturday the sanctions on Iran’s central bank and a development fund are nothing new, but the same old ones imposed in a different form.

“The Americans have to admit that sanctions are a failed policy, and the overuse of this tool and its manipulation as a weapon has put the US credibility and its economy to serious test in the international community where the time of America as a reliable economic partner has expired," he said. 

The fresh sanctions target the Central Bank of Iran, the National Development Fund of Iran and Etemad Tejarate Pars Co, the US Treasury Department said in a statement on Friday. 

Analysts cast doubt on sense of the new measures given that earlier sanctions have already targeted Iran's oil industry and the country's banks which are cut off from the international financial system.

Mousavi said Iran has already found ways to deal with the restrictions and pledged that the country will continue to grow and develop by relying on domestic capabilities and cooperation with friendly countries.

The United States, he said, is pursuing a “confused and desperate policy” which is based on “bullying, unilateralism and waging economic terrorism against others”.

The US “lacks the capability of coming up with any sensible and dynamic diplomatic initiative to peacefully resolve disputes with other countries,” he added.

The spokesman further criticized Washington for withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying any talks with Iran would be impossible without the US returning to the agreement. 

“We have kept the way of engagement open. The ball is in the Americans’ court and they must boldly admit their mistake in violating the nuclear agreement and fulfill their obligations,” he said.

“They can then interact with our country in the framework of the solutions foreseen in the JCPOA like other signatories of the deal,” he added, referring to the nuclear deal officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Announcing the new measures on Friday, US President Donald Trump said they were the “highest sanctions” ever imposed on a foreign country by Washington.

Iran's Central Bank Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati dismissed them a sign of Washington's inability to exert “leverage”. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said they showed Washington’s “desperate approach” toward Tehran. 

“The Americans have imposed any sanctions they could on the Islamic Republic. What they are doing now is sanctioning an entity which has been sanctioned before under a different pretext,” Zarif told reporters in New York.

Ever since quitting the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018, Trump has been running a "maximum pressure" campaign to force Iran into negotiating a new deal that addresses its ballistic missile program and regional influence.

Iran, which had been fully complying with all of its commitments despite the US withdrawal and the Europeans’ failure to abide by their obligations under the deal, began scaling down its commitments in early July.

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