Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has downplayed the effects of Western sanctions on Iran’s progress, saying the embargoes have only targeted the Iranian people.

These embargoes do not target Iran’s centrifuges, “however, they affect the lives of the Iranian people,” said Ali Asghar Soltanieh in an interview with the state-run BBC radio station.

Soltanieh referred to Iran’s self-sufficiency in nuclear energy technology, saying the country continues to make breakthroughs in the field, rendering the embargoes ineffective.

The US, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.

The US and the EU have used the pretext to impose international and unilateral sanctions against Iran.

On January 23, EU Foreign Ministers met in Belgium and approved new sanctions against Iran aimed at banning member countries from importing Iranian crude oil and carrying out transactions with its central bank.

The EU’s decision followed the imposition of similar sanctions by Washington on Iranian energy and financial sectors on New Year’s Eve.

Soltanieh called on the West to adopt diplomatic approaches to resolve their ambiguities about Iran’s nuclear energy program and said, “If you have any questions, we are ready to answer.”

On February 15, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili sent a letter to the EU foreign policy chief, saying Iran is ready to restart negotiations over its nuclear energy program with the P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany.

On March 8, the P5+1 also announced its readiness to resume multifaceted talks.

Iran and the P5+1 held two rounds of multifaceted talks in Geneva in December 2010 and in the Turkish city of Istanbul in January 2011.

While Tehran says it is ready to continue talks based on common grounds, it has stressed it will not relinquish its rights.
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News ID 181638