Iran: New US sanctions could damage nuclear talks

Iran is warning that a new round of U.S. economic sanctions adopted by the Obama administration this week could damage prospects for nuclear talks.

“We have no doubt that the imposition of sanctions is a failed policy,” the Tehran Times quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi saying, “We are surprised why the U.S. government and other governments which took part in these sanctions continually repeat a wrong and failed policy.”

The sanctions come as the White House is trying to figure out how to engage with the country's president-elect, the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani. U.S. lawmakers though are urging the administration to tighten rather than ease sanctions to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

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The Obama administration on Monday put in place new sanctions on the country's shipping and automobile sectors and banned gold sales to the country. The U.S. and its five partners in nuclear talks with Iran had engaged in a new round of diplomacy earlier this year, but that was put on hold shortly before the Iranian elections.

The administration applauded Iranian voters' “courage” after Rouhani's election last month and sent a message that the United States “remains ready to engage the Iranian government directly in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”

Araqchi said sanctions are "not the solution to Iran’s nuclear issue and will not help settle this issue.”

“Lifting sanctions can help resolve the issue as it is considered a confidence-building measure,” he said. “But increasing sanctions will have no result except making the issue more complicated and more difficult to resolve.

“The Americans have gained nothing with these sanctions, and it has been proved that these sanctions will not help.”

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