US is infatuated with sanctions, says Iran foreign minister in Washington

Washington: Asserting that the United States is obsessed with sanctions, the visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that sanctions, having become an end in themselves, do not serve any purpose.

 US is infatuated with sanctions, says Iran foreign minister in Washington

Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Reuters

Addressing a Washington audience, Zarif alleged that the US is infatuated with sanctions.

"The United States is obsessed with sanctions, because this deal would require the United States to lift the sanctions. And now the reason Congress is objecting to this is that it wants to keep these sanctions," he said.

"Sanctions have become an end in themselves. Sanctions do not serve any purpose. Let me tell you why. When sanctions on the nuclear issue started, Iran had less than 200 centrifuges.

Now Iran has 20,000 centrifuges. So sanctions have produced -- just in normal calculus -- 19,800 centrifuges. I mean, just do simple math," Zarif said in response to a question.

"We can say in Iran that we suffered, our economic growth and development suffered, our people suffered, but we have 19,800 centrifuges. Well, let me ask you. What does the United States see as benefits of the sanctions policy for the US? What has the United States gained? 19,800 centrifuges is one gain. Another gain is the resentment of the Iranian population," he said.

Zarif said last week an Iranian patient sent a blood sample to the United States for second opinion. This must be, first, an affluent patient, to be able to send blood samples all the way to the United States. Secondly, it must be an admirer of the United States to believe that second opinion from the United States is worth something, certainly the money that they spent.

"The blood sample came to the United States and the lab refused to test it because it came from Iran," the Foreign Minister said.

"So now you have one family, plus a lot of acquaintances, who hate the United States now. This is the net gain for the US, because before these sanctions were imposed, I provided, suggested a package that everybody now says we wish we would have accepted that package, that would have limited Iran's enrichment program to a very small number of centrifuges. That package was rejected so that sanctions could be imposed," he said.

"Now, sanctions have been imposed. You got about 200 times the number of centrifuges that we had at that time. Is that something that can be celebrated? Are these sanctions such an important achievement that you can be so obsessed with them to prevent a resolution? I believe people are giving the wrong address here again," he added.

Iran, he said, wants to resolve this issue.

"The IAEA has told you time and again that Iran has lived up to every single element of the agreement that we reached in Geneva. Iran will show that we will live up to any other agreement that we have. It is important to work with Iran in order to reach an understanding," Zarif said.


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Updated Date: Sep 18, 2014 08:08:08 IST