Iran’s economy will not be affected by sanctions imposed by the United Nations, even if Japan goes along with them, visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammadali Fatollahi said in Tokyo Friday.
“The Iranian economy is self-sufficient,” Fatollahi asserted at a press conference at the Iranian Embassy in Minato Ward. “I don’t see much difference in sanctions we were under before and we will be from now on. As we anticipated (sanctions), it won’t have much effect” on the economy, even if Japan follows the U.S., he said.
On June 9, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution to impose fresh sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
The U.S. reportedly asked major Japanese banks Wednesday to enforce sanctions that forbid transactions with Iranian banks and companies linked to nuclear development. The banks include Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc.
Fatollahi said Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada did not discuss sanctions against Iran at their meeting Thursday.
During the meeting, Okada requested that Iran reduce its uranium enrichment activity by 20 percent. Fatollahi meanwhile claimed the enrichment was for peaceful purposes. “We hope to maintain a friendly relationship with Japan,” he said.
The deputy foreign minister said he expressed concern to Okada about Japan’s recent nuclear pact with India, which has not, unlike Iran, signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Japan had long been cautious about exporting nuclear technology to India, but the two countries entered talks last month. “(The pact) would contribute to the weakening of the NPT rule,” Fatollahi said.
In May, Iran agreed on a swap deal with Brazil and Turkey to send some of its uranium abroad. Under the deal, Iran will receive processed nuclear fuel rods to be used for a medical research reactor. “We don’t have sufficient amounts of fuel for the research reactor. (The NPT-regime) should provide it to us, but they haven’t,” Fatollahi said, noting the deal with Brazil and Turkey is one of the options to obtain fuel. “The swap deal is still active. We hope to promote it.”
Iran was ordered by the U.N. Security Council to stop all uranium enrichment activities, fearing it might be used to one day build a bomb — an ambition the country denies.
Japan has largely depended on oil from Iran, as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
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