Iranian FM: We've perfected the art of evading sanctions

Mohammad Javad Zarif says US sanctions will have no impact on his country's policies.

Elad Benari,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that US sanctions will have no impact on the policies of the Islamic Republic at home or abroad, AFP reports.

"It is obvious that we are facing pressure by the US sanctions. But will that lead to a change in policy? I can assure you it won't," Zarif was quoted as having told the Doha Forum policy conference in Qatar.

"If there is an art we have perfected in Iran and can teach to others for a price, it is the art of evading sanctions," he added.

US President Donald Trump withdrew in May from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which he has said is “the worst deal ever negotiated”.

The US has since imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran, the latest of which went into effect in early November. Those sanctions aim to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero in a bid to curb the Islamic Republic’s missile program and regional influence.

Iranian officials have remained defiant in the wake of the American sanctions, with President Hassan Rouhani having said recently that the US “will be defeated” as it has chosen the wrong path in reimposing sanctions on his country.

In Saturday’s comments, Zarif also discussed the Yemen conflict, denying Tehran had ever armed the Houthi rebels battling pro-government forces in the country.

"We have never provided weapons to Houthis," he said when challenged on what arms it had supplied.

"They have enough weapons, they don't need weapons from Iran," Zarif added.

He said there were only "allegations" that Iran had sent weapons to Yemen, whereas there were "facts" that other countries had shipped arms.

"I don't need to show any evidence about the jets that were flying in Yemen bombing the Yemenis. Those are American-made jets and those are Saudi fighters, I assume, which are piloting those jets," he claimed, according to AFP.

"If there are allegations about Iranian weapons, there are facts about US weapons, facts about Saudis bombing the hell out of the Yemenis," he added.