Iran’s Foreign Minister has said, in an interview with CNN, that Iran would be interested in pursuing a ‘permanent for permanent’ deal with the United States and the rest of the world – i.e., an undertaking that they would never develop nuclear weapons, in return for a permanent lifting of sanctions.
Javad Zarif was speaking in New York at the United Nations General Assembly. In a wide-ranging interview, Zarif reiterated Iran’s denial of its role in the attacks against Saudi Arabian oil facilities and said that they were prepared to discuss de-escalation of regional tensions with Riyadh, and a possible non-aggression pact. But he criticised the 20 September imposition of sanctions against the Iranian Central Bank by the US.
‘The [additional sanctions against] the Central Bank has made it almost impossible for the United States to remove the Central Bank from the [sanctions] list,’ he said. ‘That means that not just this president, but the next president, are boxed in. So, what is there to negotiate about, if this president is incapable of undoing something that he did the day before yesterday?’
Speculation that President Hassan Rouhani and President Trump might meet at the UN General Assembly proved unfounded; however, President Rouhani did meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
On 25 September, speaking at an event organised by the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would ‘intensify efforts to educate countries and companies on the risks of doing business with IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] entities, and we will punish them if they persist in defiance of our warnings.’
He added that the US would be ‘imposing sanctions on certain Chinese entities for knowingly transporting oil from Iran contrary to United States sanctions. Importantly, we’re also imposing sanctions on the executive officers of those companies as well. And we’re telling China and all nations, know that we will sanction every violation of sanctionable activity.’
On 24 September, the heads of state of France, Germany and the UK issued a statement condemning the attacks on the Saudi oil facilities.
‘It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details,’ they said.
The Chinese companies sanctioned can be found here: