At UN, Malaysia PM seeks to curb use of sanctions

UNITED NATIONS, UNITED STATES (AFP) – Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday urged greater international control of sanctions, criticising United States (US) attempts to force all countries to stop doing business with Iran.

“We do not know under what laws sanctions are applied. It appears to be the privilege of the rich and the powerful,” the outspoken 94-year-old leader said in an address to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. “If you want to have sanctions, let us have a law to govern them,” he said.

“The fact is that when sanctions are applied to a country, other countries get sanctioned as well. Malaysia and many others lost a big market when sanctions were applied on Iran.”

The US has increasingly used sanctions as a diplomatic tool, with President Donald Trump threatening other nations with punishment if they buy any oil from Iran.

Seeking to curb Iran’s regional influence, Trump unilaterally imposed the sanctions after walking away from a multi-national nuclear deal.