U.S. says sanctions in Iran had significant impact

The sanctions imposed by the U.S. against Iran served their purpose and caused a significant impact on Iran's economy, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the State Department, made the statement on Monday as part of a press briefing from Washington. Psaki responded to a question about recent comments made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

In a recent interview, Zarif contradicted the claims that sanctions worked. Zarif said when the sanctions were first imposed, Iran had 200 working centrifuges, a number that has grown to 19,000.

Psaki reiterated that Iran came to the negotiating table to end the crippling sanctions and improve its economy.

"(Iranian President Hassan) Rouhani and others have talked about how the impact - how growing the economy and putting an end - doing - bringing an end to the sanctions is something that was a priority for them in order to help the economy and the Iranian people," Psaki said. "There's no question, if you look just at the facts of the impact of oil revenues, the impact on their economic growth writ large that there was a huge impact of - that there - the sanctions had an enormous impact, and that that was a driving factor in bringing the Iranians back to the negotiating table."

Psaki said Iran's nuclear progress was part of the reason why it was so necessary to reach an acceptable agreement to stop and roll back the country's nuclear program.