Ali Akbar Salehi

Iran’s Foreign Minister has called on the U.S. and the European Union to consider a more cooperative policy toward Iran.

IRNA reports that Ali Akbar Salehi, who is currently on a diplomatic mission in Ethiopia, told the TRT Turkish television network: “My recommendation to Europeans as well as the Americans is to replace sanctions with a policy of mutual cooperation.”

Salehi said Iran will certainly reciprocate cooperative policies, adding that Iran can be a trustworthy partner for Europe.

He stressed: “When I was appointed to the helm of the Foreign Ministry, I announced openly that my first priority in foreign policy was the European Union, and I maintained that I want the best relations with Europe.”

While stating that “sanctions cannot create significant problems for Iran”, he added: “We do not welcome sanctions and hope that Europeans begin acting more reasonably vis-a-vis Iran.”

On January 23, the foreign ministers of the 27 European Union member states agreed to impose sanctions on Iranian oil. According to the new sanctions, European countries will make no new purchases of Iranian petroleum products effective immediately, and current agreements will have to be fulfilled by July 1, 2012.

The European Union has also imposed sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank.

So has the U.S., which has also been trying to convince the Asian buyers of Iranian oil to cut back on their dealings with that country.

The wave of new Western sanctions against Iran was triggered by the recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which indicates that Iran’s nuclear program may have military dimensions.

Iran denies the allegations and insists that all of its nuclear activities are peaceful.