Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned that the recent nuclear deal between Iran and six major world powers will be "dead" if the US imposes further sanctions against the Islamic Republic, PressTV reported.
"The entire deal is dead. We do not like to negotiate under duress. And if Congress adopts sanctions, it shows lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on the part of the United States," Zarif said in an exclusive interview with Time magazine in Tehran on Saturday, which was published on Monday.
He added, "I know the domestic complications and various issues inside the United States, but for me that is no justification. I have a parliament. My parliament can also adopt various legislation that can go into effect if negotiations fail. But if we start doing that, I don't think that we will be getting anywhere."
Some members of the US Congress have been discussing the idea of imposing new sanctions on Iran over the country's nuclear energy program.
US President Barack Obama is dispatching two of his top diplomats to Capitol Hill this week to prevent new sanctions from being passed on Iran.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Under Secretary Wendy Sherman are going to persuade Congress that further sanctions on Iran would only derail the current nuclear negotiations.
Kerry will brief the House Foreign Affairs panel on Tuesday and Sherman and Treasury sanctions official David Cohen will do the same on Thursday in front of the Senate Banking Committee.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said earlier that "passing any new sanctions right now will undermine our efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution" to a decade-long dispute over the Iranian nuclear energy program.
On November 24, Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain -- plus Germany sealed an interim deal in Geneva to pave the way for the full resolution of the West's decade-old dispute with Iran over the country's nuclear energy program.
In exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the United States and its allies have agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran and the six world powers started a new round of two-day expert-level talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna, over the Islamic Republic's nuclear energy program on Monday.
The talks are aimed at devising mechanisms to implement the interim nuclear deal struck between Iran and the UN Security Council veto powers plus Germany.