Iranian leader criticizes US sanctions renewal
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the renewal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic by the US is tantamount to the violation of commitments under the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and the group of six countries known as the P5+1, Press TV reported.
"During the [nuclear] negotiations there was a lot of debate about the sanctions, but now they raise the issue of extending the sanctions in the US Congress and claim that these are not [new] sanctions but renewal [of old ones]," the Leader said in a meeting with a group of Iranian Navy commanders and officials in Tehran on Sunday on the occasion of National Navy Day.
"'Initiating sanctions' is no different from 'renewing them after their expiration,' and the latter is also [an instance of imposing] sanctions and violation of the previous commitments by the opposite side," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The GOP-controlled US House of Representatives on November 15 passed a bill for a 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). The ISA will expire at the end of 2016 if it is not renewed. The bill must be approved by the Senate before being signed by the US president into law.
Addressing members of the volunteer Basij forces in Tehran on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei had warned that Iran would respond if the US proceeded to renew the ISA.
“If these sanctions are extended, it will surely constitute a violation of the JCPOA (the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and they (US officials) must know that the Islamic Republic will definitely react to it,” the Leader had said.
Elsewhere in his Sunday remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei praised the Iranian naval forces for their progress and achievements in various areas and stressed the importance of continuing with plans and projects until they come to fruition while recommending his audience to exercise perseverance and avoide hastiness in carrying out various tasks.
The Leader emphasized that sturdy resolve and relentlessness in the face of limitations are necessary to overcome shortcomings.
Ayatollah Khamenei stated that the powerful presence of Iran’s Navy in the high seas will boost the country’s might and defense capabilities and added that such presence must be increased.
Prior to the Leader’s remarks, the Iranian Navy chief presented a report about the naval forces’ activities and measures.
Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the Navy has safeguarded national interests through its “powerful and continuous” presence in the high seas and while establishing its presence far beyond regional waters has put on display the naval forces’ prowess.
In recent years, Iran’s Navy has increased its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers.
In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, safeguarding merchant containers and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran or other countries.
Iran’s Navy has managed to foil several attacks on both Iranian and foreign tankers during its missions in international waters.