TEHRAN – Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has denounced as “futile” the European Union’s new sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports to the bloc, Radio Free Europe reported. Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying on Thursday in the southeastern city of Rafsanjan that the Iranian nation has always been able to overcome such hurdles. The EU on January 23 agreed on an embargo of Iranian oil, adding to recent U.S. sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran to halt nuclear work that Western nations fear could be aimed toward an atomic weapon. Iran has maintained that its nuclear program is peaceful.
In his January 26 remarks, Ahmadinejad reiterated the Islamic republic’s readiness to resume talks on its nuclear program. China has also criticized the EU’s oil embargo, with its Foreign Ministry saying the sanctions are “not constructive.”
The comments, quoted by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, are similar to earlier criticism of the sanctions by Russia, which called the EU move unhelpful toward reaching a negotiated solution to the international dispute over the Iranian nuclear program.
The negotiations between Iran and the five United Nations Security Council permanent members – Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France – and Germany have been stalled for a year.