Final round of negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran continue in Vienna November 21, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – New sanctions levied by Washington against nine Iranian entities “raise doubts about America’s intentions” in talks over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, the Foreign Ministry in Tehran said on Wednesday.
While critical of the US moves, Iran did not classify the measures as a violation of terms for the continuation of the nuclear talks.
Washington’s latest sanctions are intended to punish nine targets that have allegedly helped Iran circumvent existing sanctions, or have committed human rights abuses.
An interim deal reached between world powers and Iran last year stipulates that all existing sanctions will continue to be enforced throughout the duration of the talks. According to the document, formally known as the Joint Plan of Action, enforcement may include new listings of targets in violation of existing sanctions.
The United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany, known as the P5+1, are seeking a comprehensive accord with Iran that will end their concerns with its nuclear work. Negotiators have set a March deadline for a political agreement.
“At a time negotiations are under way with P5+1, such a move raises doubts about America’s intentions and violates the goodwill principles,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
“This action is for mere publicity and will have no bearing whatsoever on our commercial policies,” she added.
US Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said Tuesday’s move was part of efforts to enforce the existing sanctions regime. The United States does not support imposing new nuclear- related sanctions, he said.
Republican leadership in Congress, however, seeks a vote on a bill early next year that will trigger additional nuclear-related sanctions against Iran should it be found in violation of the Joint Plan of Action, or should negotiations fail.
Such a law would be in violation of the interim accord, Tehran says, though the new measures would not be imposed until after the JPOA expires. US President Barack Obama has urged Congress to put off a vote and has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
Iran and six world powers are set to resume low-level talks on Iran’s nuclear program in Geneva on Jan 15, with wide gaps remaining in their positions, the Iranian foreign minister said on Tuesday.Reuters contributed to this report.