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Iran Calls Negotiations “Meaningless” While U.S. Imposes Sanctions

By Orkhan Jalilov August 7, 2018

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U.S. President Donald Trump signs an Executive Order entitled “Reimposing Certain Sanctions with Respect to Iran," on August 6. / Shealah Craighead / Whitehouse.gov

The Iranian president has said that the United States "must first pull out the knife and then come to the negotiation table,” after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the re-imposition of major financial sanctions on Iran on August 6.

“If somebody puts a knife in its opponent or enemy’s arm and says we want to negotiate; the answer is that they must first pull out the knife and then come to the negotiation table,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a live televised interview on Monday.

“Negotiation at the same time with sanctions is meaningless, and these sanctions are targeting Iranian children and people.”

“The United States did not want to face Iran alone for sanctions but wanted to force the whole world to boycott Iran,” Rouhani added. “Trump wanted to take all of these achievements from us, and he is already calling for sanctions against Iran, but it has been unsuccessful.”

A statement released by the White House on Monday stated that the United States “is taking action to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions with respect to Iran that were lifted in connection with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of July 14, 2015 (the “JCPOA”).”

Sanctions will hit Iran’s automobile sector, trade in gold and precious metals, and financial sanctions that will hit what is a plummeting Iranian rial, which hit a new low of the weekend of 110,000 rials to one U.S. dollar. The sanctions went into effect today.

Meanwhile, all remaining American sanctions related to the nuclear industry and energy, and transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran, will kick in on November 5. 

In a reaction to the statement released by the White House, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Twitter account, “Trump Administration wants the world to believe it's concerned about the Iranian people. Yet the very first sanctions it reimposed have canceled licenses for sales of 200+ passenger jets under absurd pretexts, endangering ordinary Iranians. US hypocrisy knows no bounds.”

During his televised interview President Rouhani said that Europeans are opposed to the U.S. reimposing sanctions.

“Today, at the first step of the U.S. embargo, Europeans stood up against the United States, declaring that the law prohibited sanctions or blockade, saying that any company working with Iran would be boycotted if they listen to US’ call for sanctions and boycott Iran.”

The European Union followed Monday’s statement by the White House by expressing deep regret over the move. The European Union's updated Blocking Statute enters into force on August 7 to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of “extra-territorial sanctions.”

The EU’s blocking statute forbids EU firms from complying with American sanctions, allowing them to recover damages from such penalties and nullifying any foreign court rulings against them. 

Iran’s economy has rapidly deteriorated in recent months partially due to fears over the imposition of sanctions, igniting street protests in many cities due to economic hardships.

Some Iranians took to the streets in Esfahan and Karaj on August 1 to protest against high inflation and increasing economic hardship. Two hundred Iranian lawmakers urged President Rouhani to reshuffle his cabinet to deal with the depreciation of the rial, stop inflation and deepening unemployment, and deal with the power shortage in the country. 

On the same day, Iran’s government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nowbakht stepped down from his post due to pressure put on the president by hardliners in the government.

Videos posted on social media purported to show rallies in the capital, Tehran, and in cities such as Karaj, Shiraz, Mashhad, Isfahan and Qom. Meanwhile, there were reports in Iranian media that one protester was killed on August 4, along with an attack on a religious seminary.