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Iran says new US sanctions 'deepen' mistrust

Iranian president slams new sanctions, saying they will hamper ongoing negotiations about country's nuclear programme.

Last updated: 30 Aug 2014 20:26
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned a new round of American sanctions Saturday [AP]

Hassan Rouhani, Iran's president, has denounced the new round of US sanctions linked to the country's nuclear activities, saying mistrust has been "further deepened" by the new measures.

His comments on Saturday followed the US government's announcement of a slew of penalties targeting dozens of Iranian individuals and entities, including shipping and oil companies, banks and airlines. 

The latest sanctions - which the US said were levelled because of support for terrorism and as punishment for existing restrictions being skirted - come despite Iran's ongoing talks with the West which are aimed at ending the decade-long nuclear dispute.

"This is not compatible with the atmosphere of the negotiations," Rouhani said of the measures by the US Treasury and State Department.

"It goes against confidence building measures. Mistrust has further deepened," he told reporters in Tehran, also defending attempts to circumvent sanctions on the oil sector, banks and other industries.

"Some sanctions like those against drugs or food products are crimes against humanity," Rouhani said. "We fight and go round these sanctions and we are proud of that."

A wide array of international sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear programme, most of them financial, are considered to have strangled its economy in recent years.

But advocates say such tough action brought the Islamic Republic back to the negotiating table.

Despite his criticism on Saturday, Rouhani pledged that discussions with the P5+1 powers - Britain, China, France, Russia, the US and Germany - would continue.

Difficult questions 

"We hope to achieve a result within the time limit if the other party acts with goodwill," he said, noting that three or four difficult questions remain ahead of a November 24 deadline.

The biggest disagreement in the talks is believed to concern the amount of uranium enrichment that Iran would be allowed to carry out under a comprehensive agreement.

The talks are scheduled to resume next month on the sidelines of the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York. Rouhani is expected to attend but said on Saturday he had no plans to meet US President Barack Obama at the event.

Tehran contends that its nuclear programme is for peaceful energy production reasons and denies international allegations that it has sought to develop an atomic bomb.

Earlier on Saturday, other senior Iranian officials hit out at the US Treasury action.

"The duplicity of the Americans is totally unacceptable," said Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi, a key member of the team that for almost one year has been seeking a nuclear settlement with the West.

"You cannot on the one hand say that you are negotiating with goodwill and then at the same time use such means," he added.

Iran's foreign ministry said the new sanctions were contrary to US commitments under the Geneva agreement, an interim deal under which world powers agreed in November to relieve some penalties on Iran in exchange for curbs on the latter's nuclear activities.

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