New US bans on Iran to spoil nuclear talks
Iran says any new US sanctions against the Islamic Republic could spoil the ongoing talks aimed at securing a long-term deal over Tehran’s nuclear program.
At her weekly press conference on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said any further anti-Iran bans by the US could lead to “a halt” in the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the P5+1 group.
“It is totally clear [that] using a worn-out tool which has been evidently proved ineffective is not helpful,” the Iranian official said, adding it is a “miscalculation” by certain US officials that sanctions have brought Tehran to the negotiating table.
Afkham described the disputes over Iran’s civilian nuclear work as “fabricated” and said Tehran is determined to settle the issue through realism.
A “realistic” approach can help the achievement of a comprehensive deal over Tehran’s nuclear activities, Afkham added.
Her remarks came in reaction to reports that the new Republican-controlled US Congress is considering a new sanctions bill against Iran over its nuclear program.
This comes as Iran and the P5+1 states, Russia, China, France, Britain and the US plus Germany, are set to start a new round of talks on Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva on January 18.
Falling oil prices
Reacting to a severe drop in oil prices over the past months, Afkham said oil should not turn into a political tool, adding that all countries, especially oil producers, will be the ones to suffer from slumping prices.
“If oil, which is an economic issue, turns political then countries themselves will get harmed,” she added.
She added that the member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are in talks to control falling oil prices.
Iran, which is an OPEC member, seeks to wean the country off dependency on oil revenues, Afkham stated.
Oil prices have plunged about 50 percent since June last year over increased supplies by certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, and lackluster global economic growth.
French cartoon of Prophet Mohammed
Afkham also condemned the publication of a new cartoon depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad on the cover of a French magazine.
“We condemn the blasphemous measure of the French weekly [in publishing this cartoon] because it will provoke and hurt the feelings of Muslims and could fan the flame of the vicious circle of extremism in the world,” she said.
She underlined the need for respecting the sanctities of all divine religions, criticizing the West-style freedom of expression.
On Wednesday, French magazine Charlie Hebdo once again published a cartoon depicting Prophet Muhammad on the cover of its new edition. Muslims consider depicting Prophet Mohammed as blasphemous.