01 Aug 2019
The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, targeting the country’s top spokesman and potentially hurting chances of diplomatic talks amid rising tensions between the two countries.
Zarif, a critical figure in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, dismissed the action and said it would not affect him.
U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal last year and ramped up sanctions to put pressure on Iran’s economy. The move dismantled part of President Barack Obama’s legacy and upset U.S. allies who were party to the agreement, which was designed to restrict Tehran’s pathway to a nuclear bomb in exchange for sanctions relief.
Strains between Washington and Tehran have risen more in recent months after attacks on tankers in the Gulf that the United States blames on Iran and Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone that prompted preparations for a U.S. retaliatory air strike that Trump called off at the last minute.
“Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world. The United States is sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that its recent behavior is completely unacceptable,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The sanctions against Zarif would block any property or interests he has in the United States, but the Iranian foreign minister said he had none.
By Jeff Mason and Eric Beech, Reuters, 31 July 2019
Read more at Reuters
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