Iran has warned the European Union (EU) not to pursue additional sanctions against Tehran as such a move will prove counterproductive.
“If the enemies dare to hurl stones at us, they should be watchful that the soil of Iran will go into their eyes,” said Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Iranian parliament and also the former chief negotiator on the nuclear issue.
On Thursday, the E.U. approved sanctions that target Iran’s key energy sector, particularly its refining sector and the natural gas sector. Iran is a leading exporter of crude but lacks adequate refining capability. The new sanctions could be enforced in the next few weeks, EU officials were quoted as saying.
Mr. Larijani counselled the Europeans to “be vigilant” and not be trapped by the “old tricks” of the United States and Israel, IRNA reported.
He warned that Iran would retaliate if the EU subjected Tehran to fresh sanctions.
The EU’s decision has opened cracks within the ranks of the Security Council members, which, last week, approved fresh sanctions against Iran that do not target Tehran’s energy sector. On Thursday, Russia slammed the U.S. and E.U. for imposing sanctions beyond the latest list approved by the United Nations Security Council. “We are extremely disappointed that neither the United States nor the European Union is heeding our calls to refrain from such steps,” Interfax and Itar-Tass news agencies news quoted Sergei Ryabkov, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister as saying. Mr. Ryabkov warned that the proposed unilateral sanctions “are not just harmful, they undermine the very foundation of our joint work with our partners in the sextet and the Security Council”.
The sextet refers to the five permanent Security Council members and Germany. “We are drawing certain conclusions from this, including about the prospects for joint work” within the U.N. Security Council and the sextet, Mr. Ryabkov asserted. Russian officials have been saying in the past that they approve of only those sanctions which discourage Iran from pursuing its nuclear programme, without affecting the lives of ordinary citizens.