Latest sanctions target Zarif and follow sanctions on Supreme Leader and his office; US State Department: Zarif is a key enabler of Ayatollah Khamenei’s policies throughout the region and around the world; Rouhani: US sanctions childish; Zarif: Thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda.
The Trump Administration issued its latest sanctions on Iran targeting its foreign minister on Wednesday, Iran responding that they are “childish.”
The US State Department confirmed it placed sanctions on Mohammad Javad Zarif, “who has acted on behalf of the Supreme Leader.” The State Department released a statement, citing its reasons for the sanctions it announced it would place one month ago. It stated that “Iran’s Foreign Ministry is not merely the diplomatic arm of the Islamic Republic but also a means of advancing many of the Supreme Leader’s destabilizing policies… Zarif and the Foreign Ministry he runs take direction from the Supreme Leader and his office… Zarif is a key enabler of Ayatollah Khamenei’s policies throughout the region and around the world.”
The latest sanctions “represents another step toward denying the Iranian regime the resources to enable terror and oppress the Iranian people… the Iranian regime facilitates and supports terrorism, jails and tortures innocent Iranians, fuels foreign conflicts in Syria and Yemen, and, in recent weeks, has expanded its nuclear program.” Iran has announced several violations of the nuclear deal as it continues its pressure on the deal’s signatories, mainly the EU, to find a solution to what is last referred to as “economic terrorism.”
The State Department again reiterated that the “United States continues to seek a diplomatic solution that addresses the Iranian regime’s destructive behavior,” and that “the only path forward is a comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of its threats. Until then, our campaign of diplomatic isolation and maximum economic pressure will continue.”
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani responded to the sanctions, claiming the United States is acting “childish” and is afraid of the minister’s truths. He claimed Thursday, “It is completely clear that the foundations of the White House have been shaken by the words and logic of an informed, devoted and diplomatic individual.” He added, “Our enemies are so helpless that they have lost the ability to act and think wisely.”
Zarif took to Twitter to also mock the Trump Administration, stating “The US’ reason for designating me is that I am Iran’s ‘primary spokesperson around the world’. Is the truth really that painful? It has no effect on me or my family, as I have no property or interests outside of Iran. Thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda.”
President Trump signed an executive order to impose additional “hard-hitting sanctions” targeting Iran’s Supreme Leader, his office, and other Iranian government officials last month. Iran denounced the sanctions, claiming they are a “permanent closure of the path of diplomacy.”