TEHRAN (AFP) – The new European Union sanctions against Iran will not deter its efforts to gain nuclear technology, deputy foreign minister has told German officials, state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday.
IRNA said that Ali Ahani warned during a recent meeting in Germany “that the new (EU) decision taken to intensify sanctions… is destructive,” coming at a time when Tehran is deciding whether to respond to an EU offer of talks.
It said Ahani emphasised that EU sanctions “will in no way affect the Iranian government and people’s determination to seek their legitimate right to exploit nuclear technology under the supervision of the IAEA.”
Iran maintains its nuclear programme is peaceful and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN atomic watchdog. Western powers suspect it is aimed at making weapons.
On June 9 the UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions on the Islamic republic over its nuclear programme. Soon after the UN move, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton offered to hold talks with Tehran.
The UN measures were followed on Wednesday by a separate set of restrictions imposed by the United States and a day later by the European Union.
The EU sanctions include a ban on new investment, technical assistance and technology transfers to Tehran’s huge gas and oil industry, particularly as regards refining and liquefied natural gas.
They also target the transport, banking and insurance sectors and slap new visa bans and asset freezes on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
New US sanctions target insurance companies, oil firms and shipping lines linked to Iran’s atomic or missile programmes as well as the IRGC and Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi.
Before the EU move, parliament speaker Ali Larijani had warned that Tehran would retaliate if the new measures were adopted.
IRNA said that Larijani, speaking in the holy city of Qom on Thursday, said: “If the European Union imposes sanctions, Iran will consider retaliation.”