Iran has criticised the latest package of sanctions imposed by the United States against Iranian oil exports. It has vowed a "firm response" to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's announcement on Monday of sanctions against "six entities that facilitate illegal transactions related to Iranian oil," one of the "main sources of revenue for the Iranian government."
The fresh sanctions announced by the US came in light of the stalled efforts to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement for Iran's nuclear development programme. The US was pulled out of the deal unilaterally in 2018 by then President Donald Trump.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said that the Biden administration has repeatedly considered Trump's "maximum pressure" policy as "failed and ineffective". However, in practice, it has continued and even expanded this failed policy, to the point that amid ongoing efforts to resume negotiations to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, Washington is not backing away from this "fruitless and destructive measure".
Kanaani added in a statement posted on the ministry's website that, "The Islamic Republic of Iran will first show a decisive, firm and immediate reaction to the White House's insistence on continuing the sanctions, and will use all necessary measures to limit the possible negative effects of these sanctions on the country's trade and economy."
Last week, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, who is coordinating the nuclear talks, revealed that he had presented Tehran and Washington with a draft proposal, urging them to accept it to avoid a "serious crisis".
In April 2021, Iran and the world powers began talks to revive the deal after the US withdrawal from it in 2018, to which Iran responded by retreating gradually from most of its obligations under the JCPOA. However, the talks were suspended in March due to outstanding disagreements between Tehran and Washington. In late June, though, the two sides held indirect talks in the Qatari capital, Doha, which ended without a breakthrough.
The nuclear agreement was concluded in 2015 between Iran on the one hand, and the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China on the other. It allowed the lifting of sanctions on Tehran in return for Iran reducing its nuclear activities and ensuring that its nuclear energy was produced purely for peaceful purposes.