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Iran slams US arrest of Huawei executive as 'desperate'

Zarif has been a vocal critic of the new US sanctions [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 December, 2018

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Iran's foreign minister has slammed the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on US orders.
Iran has described last week's arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on US orders as an act of "desperation" by Washington.

Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese tech giant, was arrested in Canada following a US request after she was accused of violating trade sanctions against Iran.

"The Americans have become isolated in the world and are resorting to petty actions in this conflict (against Iran), such as arresting the financial chief of a big Chinese company to push ahead with their policies," Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said at a conference with regional powers.

"This shows America's desperation more than it shows America's power."

Iran has faced two waves of punishing sanctions by Iran, the latest in November aimed at cutting the country's trade access with the world.

This follows the decision in May by President Donald Trump to pull the US out of a nuclear deal with Iran, over its missile building programme and regional interference.

President Hassan Rouhani, who spoke at the conference, accused the US of "economic terrorism" and undermining its own battle with militancy.

Iran's economy has been severly hit by sanctions and is putting pressure on Europe to find ways around the embargo to continue trade.

Washington has granted waivers to some countries to wind down its trade with Iran, but the arrest of Meng Wanzhou is seen as a message that it is serious about the sanctions.

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