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TEHRAN - Iranian officials have slammed the new European Union oil embargo on the Islamic republic and have called for continuation of talks with the world powers.
Tehran's interim Friday Prayers Leader Kazem Seddiqi downplayed impacts of the west-led sanctions on Iran, stressing that such moves will harm the countries who impose the sanctions, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Friday.
The more sanctions are imposed against Iran, the more united and flourishing the Iranian nation will be, Seddiqi said, addressing a congregation of worshippers on Tehran University campus Friday.
"Countries which imposed sanctions should know that Iran has flourished despite the sanctions. These countries are making trouble for their own people more than what they are doing against us," he was quoted as saying.
The remarks by the Iranian cleric came as the EU is scheduled to implement an oil embargo against Iran on July 1.
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said that " illegitimate" moves by the West will harm nuclear talks, the semi- official Mehr news agency reported on Friday.
In a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday, Jalili warned that "the use of illegitimate tools", implying sanctions, against Iran will hurt the ongoing talks between Iran and the major powers, said the report.
Iran is ready to play a role in the initiatives which pave the way for successful talks, he said only few days ahead of the start of EU oil embargo on Iran.
He added that holding successful talks are possible only within the context of cooperation and winning the Iranian nation's confidence, said Jalili according to the official IRNA news agency.
During intensive talks in Russia's capital of Moscow on June 18-19, Iran and the P5+1, comprising the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany did not sign any agreements but agreed to meet again in Turkey's Istanbul in early July at the expert level.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi discussed the topic of the nuclear talks between Iran and the six world powers with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle via phone on Friday, the Press TV reported.
During their conversation, the two sides stressed the need for the continuation of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, said the report.m
The two leaders expressed hope that the forthcoming expert-level meeting in Istanbul would prepare the ground for higher level talks between Tehran and the P5+1.
Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said that if South Korea completely cuts its crude oil imports from Iran, the Islamic republic will reconsider its ties with Seoul, IRNA reported on Friday.
"Iran is one of the major importers of South Korean goods and if it completely cuts its oil imports from Iran, that country will suffer the most," Qasemi was quoted as saying.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency quoted Iranian Ambassador Ahmad Masumifar as saying on Wednesday that Iran "may decide to fully stop importing Korean goods" if South Korea imposes a ban on Iranian oil.
The comments came as media reported that South Korea would be forced to stop oil imports from Iran starting July 1 as the EU will ban insurance on Iran oil shipments.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council decided on Monday to ban any type of insurance for Iranian oil shipments from July 1 onwards.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday announced Washington's decision to exempt China and Singapore from sanctions over imports of Iranian oil, citing their "significant" reduction of purchases from the Islamic republic.
"Today I have made the determination that two additional countries, China and Singapore, have significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran," the top US envoy said in a written statement.
She said as a result, financial institutions in the two Asian countries will be eligible for exemptions from US sanctions for a renewable period of 180 days.
Under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed by US President Barack Obama late last year, foreign financial institutions, whose governments still purchase Iranian crude oil as of June 28, will be denied access to the US financial market.