October 30, 2018 / 12:02 PM / 14 days ago

Iran: U.S. curbs to have 'severe consequences' for global order

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. sanctions against Iran will have “severe consequences” for the world order, the Islamic republic said on Tuesday, days before new sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports take effect.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Washington reintroduced sanctions against Iran’s currency trade, metals and auto sectors in August after it pulled out of a multinational 2015 deal that lifted sanctions in return for limits on Iran’s nuclear program.

A new set of sanctions on Iranian banking and energy sectors are to take effect Nov. 5, as U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to cut oil purchases from the Islamic Republic to zero.

“Unfortunately a law-breaking country (the United States) seeks to punish a country (Iran) that is abiding by law.... This method will have severe consequences for the world order,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by the Iranian state news agency IRNA during a visit to Istanbul.

However, Zarif added, “Americans have not achieved their goals by imposing illegal sanctions against Iran”.

Tehran says it has complied fully with the nuclear accord and its commitment has been repeatedly confirmed by the U.N. atomic watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Trump complained that the deal, approved by his predecessor Barack Obama, does not cover Iran’s ballistic missiles, its role in regional wars or what happens after the nuclear pact begins to expire in 2025.

“The world community has stood up to the U.S. sanctions,” Zarif said, after a trilateral meeting between Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan’s foreign minister.

“PSYCHOLOGICAL WAR”

“The neighboring countries and European nations have resisted against Washington’s unilateral measures.”

European signatories of the nuclear deal are still committed to the accord and will soon launch a mechanism, a so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV), aiming to sidestep the U.S. financial system by using an EU intermediary to handle trade with Iran.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi also accused Washington of launching a “psychological war” against Tehran by imposing “inhumane and confrontational sanctions” to hurt the Iranian economy.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on Monday that the Iranian economy was in decline, and said “That’s what happens when the ruling regime steals from its people and invests in (Syrian President Bashar) Assad — instead of creating jobs for Iranians, they ruin the economy.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have sent weapons and thousands of soldiers to Syria to help shore up Assad during the seven-year-long civil war there.

Reacting to Pompeo’s remarks, Qasemi was quoted as saying by IRNA: “These comments are based on populism and fallacy… The Iranian economy had shown growth all previous years when Iran was fighting against the terrorists.”

Iran’s rial currency has lost 70 percent of its value this year because of a weak economy, financial difficulties at local banks and heavy demand for dollars among Iranians who fear the effects of sanctions.

South Korea, one of Asia’s biggest buyers of Iranian oil, said on Tuesday it had asked the United States for “maximum flexibility” on its request for a waiver to prevent South Korean companies from being affected by U.S. sanctions.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Editing by Mark Heinrich, Martyn Herman, William Maclean

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