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Iran slams new US sanctions amid nuke deal uncertainty


TEHRAN: The spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, dismissed new sanctions announced by the US Treasury against an Iranian national and his four companies connected to Tehran’s missile program.

The US Treasury stated on Wednesday that it had levied the punitive measures as it was convinced the firms and its owner had supported Iran in its development of ballistic missiles. Those missiles, US officials said, allegedly are being used by the Islamic Republic in its ambitious regional activities and in pursuit of deeper influence, a policy that Tehran has defiantly defended as “strategic.”  

“It is yet another indication of the US government’s ill intentions toward the Iranian nation,” Khatibzadeh said in a statement on March 31.

According to the Iranian spokesperson, the new sanctions came “in continuum of the failed maximum pressure policy,” a reference to an intense sanctions regime introduced by former President Donald Trump’s administration with the aim of squeezing Iran’s economy. Khatibzadeh further rejected the reasoning behind the latest sanctions as “baseless allegations” applied as a “pressure tool against the Iranian nation.”

US authorities maintain that Iranian missiles have been launched by Tehran-backed proxies across the Middle East, including by Yemen’s Houthi rebels against the Aramco oil facility in Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a war on its southern neighbor since 2014.

Iran’s missile program is spearheaded and constantly upgraded by its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The military organization has also recently emerged at the very core of indirect talks between Iran and the United States toward the resurrection of the Iran nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In his statement, Khatibzadeh argued that the new sanctions contradict “the US claim about its willingness to return to full compliance under the JCPOA,” suggesting that the measures were in breach of the 2015 accord as well as UN Resolution 2231.

One of the last “remaining issues” in the stalled talks is Tehran’s demand that Washington removes the IRGC from its list of foreign terrorist organizations. US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley has already stated, however, that whether or not the JCPOA is reinstated, the IRGC will continue to suffer multiple sanctions.

Speculation has been rife on what Washington has set as a condition for its potential removal of the IRGC from the list, a move that could consequently pave the way for the revival of the JCPOA.


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