TEHRAN – Iran’s foreign ministry condemned on Tuesday fresh sanctions imposed by the United States on people in the inner circle of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying the punitive measures highlights Washington’s bullying of other countries.
The ministry claimed the sanctions revealed the desperation and “inability” of the US to use diplomacy.
“The US regime’s addiction to unilateral sanctions has put its authorities in a passive situation that makes them resort to such empty sanctions in a bid to alleviate their pains and depression that has been caused by their inaction towards the iron-like will of the Iranian nation,” foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.
On Monday, the US government imposed sanctions on nine Iranians including Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi, Khamenei’s second son Mojtaba Khamenei, senior adviser to the supreme leader in international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri.
“Today the Treasury Department is targeting the unelected officials who surround Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and implement his destabilizing policies,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said in a statement.
The news coincided with the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the 1979 siege of the US embassy in Tehran, in which more than 50 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Iranian regime continued to “unjustly detain Americans” and to support “terrorist proxy groups like Hezbollah that engage in hostage-taking,” and called for the release of all the Americans that have been detained or gone missing in Iran.
The Iranian foreign ministry responded to these accusations, calling them a distortion of historical and factual realities.
Mousavi said that the White House has always tried to distort reality through its propaganda and accused the US of swapping the positions of the executioner and the victim.
He added that the US government couldn’t hide behind its “crimes against the Iranian nation” through sanctions and “economic terrorism.”
The US re-imposed sanctions on Iran last year after unilaterally withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement signed with the Tehran and five other countries.
The sanctions on the oil sector – which have severely damaged the Iranian economy – came into effect a year ago. However, this step did not manage to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.