A senior Iranian lawmaker says Washington’s recent decision to exempt 11 countries from the new sanctions against Iran shows the United States is in “overt retreat” from its earlier stance on the Islamic Republic. “Regarding the Islamic Republic’s firm stance, the [US] move is an overt retreat from the United States’ previous stance,” said Chairman of the Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi on Wednesday. He added that the statement was a “respectful retreat” from the European Union’s decision to impose an oil embargo on Iran, ISNA reported. “They are probably hopeful that the decision will have an impact on soaring oil prices in the world and that it will enable them to put a cover on the EU’s unsuccessful and failed policy of imposing sanctions on Iran's oil sector,” he emphasized. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement on March 20 that Washington has exempted 11 nations, 10 EU members and Japan, from the tough new sanctions on Iran as they have reduced oil purchases from Tehran. She added that the exemption covers financial institutions from 11 nations- - Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. The Iranian lawmaker reiterated that the Islamic Republic will never retreat from its stance on the nuclear energy program which has been used as the main pretext for anti-Iran sanctions. We have a principled stance, which is based on the regulations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Boroujerdi pointed out. The EU could take a wise measure if it also follows up the US retreat from its stance against Iran, the legislator said, adding that the 27-member bloc can save itself from more serious crises that it might face in the future. The US and EU have imposed tough financial and oil sanctions against Iran since the beginning of 2012, alleging that the country’s nuclear energy program may have a military aspect. Tehran refutes the allegations, noting that frequent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have failed to prove any diversion in Iran’s nuclear energy program for military purposes.