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Iran Says It Will Not Alter Policies Despite Cost Of Sanctions

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi talks to journalists after meeting senior officials from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, Germany and France in Vienna, October 19, 2015

Iran's deputy foreign minister has told a Spanish newspaper that his country will not change its policies in the face of United States sanctions, IRNA reported.

Abbas Araqchi told ABC newspaper, "Sanctions might have a heavy cost but they will not alter Iran's policies. The previous U.S. administration implemented heavier sanctions but at the end, it had to sit at the negotiating table."

The U,S, has threatened to tighten the screws on Iran to force Tehran to "change its behavior".

Araqchi also said that Iran's oil exports might decline but not to the degree the U.S. thinks they will.

The Trump administration launched its oil sanctions November 5 but at the same time gave temporary waivers to several countries, meant to gradually reduce their oil purchases from Iran.

Araqchi also repeated a threat other Iranian officials have made that if the 2015 nuclear agreement is not maintained, Iran might resume the production of enrichment centrifuges.

Russia, China and Europe have vowed to maintain the agreement despite the U.S. withdrawal announced by president Donald Trump on May 8.

On the war in Yemen Araqchi told the newspaper that Iran maintains contacts with Houthi rebels but this does not mean they listen to everything Tehran says. He insisted that Iran's goal is to bring peace to the war torn country.

The U.S. and many regional countries accuse Iran of fomenting the war in Yemen by arming and assisting the Houthis.