US sanctions on Iran punishing small states: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has lashed out at the recent US-backed sanctions targeting the Iranian energy sector, stressing that the bans will inflict heavy losses on the country’s economy.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said Tuesday that the island’s only oil refinery is designed to work with Iranian light crude and any disruption to oil imports from Iran deals a blow to Colombo.
He also noted that by imposing an embargo on the Iranian oil industry, the US and its Western allies “are not punishing Iran, but us… the small countries.”
On December 31, 2011, US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions which seek to penalize countries importing Iran’s oil or doing transaction with the country’s central bank.
In their latest meeting in Brussels on January 23, EU foreign ministers also imposed new sanctions on Iran which include a ban on purchasing oil from the country, a freeze on the assets of Iran’s Central Bank within the EU, and a ban on the sale of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to Iran.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used this pretext to impose four rounds of international embargos and a series of unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has a right to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.