"The expense and damage inflicted by sanctions and economic pressure imposed against Iran are targeting the people of Western states who are grappling with harsh economic crisis," Salehi said on Saturday during a meeting with South African Energy Minister Dipuo Peters in Tehran.
The Iranian foreign minister went on to say that Tehran has managed sanctions against the country by maintaining its political independence in the international arena. The Iranian oil ministry had said also earlier in a statement downplayed the effects of the US and EU's unilateral oil sanctions against Tehran, and said such embargoes will merely harm the European economies and oil consuming countries.
European sanctions against Iran's oil exports will affect the world economy and hurt European and non-European countries, the statement said in January. "The hasty decision by EU states to use oil as a political tool will have a negative impact on the world economy and especially on recovering European economies which are fighting to overcome the global financial crisis," it added.
The statement was issued after the European Union reached an agreement on sanctioning oil imports from Iran and freezing the assets of Iran's Central Bank within the EU. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters that the sanctions are aimed at pressuring Iran to return to talks over its nuclear program. Iran has always underlined its preparedness to resume talks with the West but has meantime stressed that it will never accept any precondition for such talks.