Iran denounces new US sanctions as 'illegal'

Iran denounces new US sanctions as 'illegal'
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Iran’s top diplomat is deriding new unilateral sanctions from the United States as “illegal.”

The sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Sunday are “uncalled for,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told The Associated Press in an interview published on Wednesday. 

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“We believe the sanctions are illegal. They violate basic principles,” he added. “The Iranian missile program is a legitimate defense program.”

The sanctions went into place on Sunday in retaliation for Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles. International officials have insisted that Iran’s missile tests were a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

According to Zarif, the new effort demonstrates how the U.S. has an "addiction to pressure, addiction to coercion, addiction to sanctions."

The imposition of new U.S. sanctions came a day after the U.S. and countries around the world lifted a separate set of sanctions on Iran that had been designed to stop the country's nuclear efforts. The lifting of those sanctions, which released tens of billions of dollars for Iran, came as result of the international accord to impose new limits on Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon. 

As those nuclear sanctions have lifted, Zarif said, Iran has had a “tremendous” response from international businesses.

"We have deals that are being worked out with Airbus — all sorts of companies from nuclear technology companies, to irrigation, green energy ... a whole range of them," he said.