Iranian FM: We Have ‘Perfected the Art of Evading U.S. Sanctions’

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign secretary (pictured) during an joint press statement of Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen (not pictured) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (not pictured) at Hofburg Palace on July 4, 2018 in Vienna, Austria. Rouhani is on a one-day visit to Austria, during which he is …
Michael Gruber/Getty

(AFP) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday said US sanctions will have no impact on the policies of the Islamic republic at home or abroad.

“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 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.

The US imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran this year, after earlier unilaterally pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal with global powers.

Discussing the Yemen conflict, Zarif denied 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 said.

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,” Zarif said.

“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.

Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia intervened in the Yemen conflict in 2015 as part of a coalition backing the government.

Zarif said the United States and its ally Saudi Arabia were responsible for the “humanitarian nightmare” in war-torn Yemen.

He also accused Riyadh of seeking “tension” with Iran.

Zarif also alluded to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi, saying Saudi Arabia believes “it can get away with murder.”

Khashoggi, a palace insider turned critic of the regime, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

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