Iranian diplomat claims sanctions have failed

U.S. sanctions against Iran “have utterly failed," said Mohammad Javad Zarif, the nation's top diplomat.

He also charged Western governments with taking advantage of his country.

Iran “will not compromise on the basic rights of the Iranian people,” Zarif said in an interview Tuesday night with Al Jazeera.

His comments come just a week and a half after the P5+1 — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, Germany and China — reached a six-month deal with Iran on its nuclear program. The deal freezes Iran’s program and limits the amount of uranium they can enrich.

The White House has urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are skeptical of the interim deal to hold off on sanctions during this six-month period.


Sanctions, the U.S. has said, have successfully crippled Iran’s economy, but Zarif says they didn’t impede his country’s nuclear ambitions. 

"When sanctions started, Iran had less than 200 centrifuges. Today, Iran has 19,000 centrifuges, so the net product of the sanctions has been about 18,800 centrifuges that has been added to the Iran's stock of centrifuges, so sanctions have utterly failed,” he said.

Asked about the reports of the secret back channels the Obama administration used to negotiate the deal since March, Zarif said, "They were not secret back channels.”

"We had discussions with the Americans on the sidelines of P5+1, extensive discussions, and these discussions produced this deal in addition to the very serious discussions we had within P5+1. Oman has played a significant role in the past with regards to clarifying position of the U.S. on Iran.”