Iran's president slams US sanctions on FM Zarif as 'childish'

Iran's president slams US sanctions on FM Zarif as 'childish'
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has blasted new US sanctions on Iran's foreign minister as a barrier to diplomacy amid escalating US pressure on the Islamic Republic.
2 min read
01 August, 2019
Financial sanctions on Javad Zarif were announced by Washington on Wednesday [AFP]
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday slammed fresh US sanctions targeting his country's foreign minister as "childish" and a barrier to diplomacy.

The financial sanctions imposed on Javad Zarif were announced by US President Donald Trump on Wednesday as part of an escalating campaign to pressure the Islamic Republic.

"They have started doing childish things," Rouhani said in a speech in the western city of Tabriz, in Azerbaijan province.

"Every day they claim: 'We want to negotiate with Iran, without any pre-conditions'. and then they put sanctions on the country's foreign minister," he said.

The highly unusual action of penalising another nation's top diplomat followed Trump's executive order placing sanctions on Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

These new sanctions come amid a spike in tensions between the US and Iran.

The US has boosted its military presence in the Persian Gulf while Iran has begun openly exceeding limits on its nuclear activities set in a 2015 accord with world powers.

Trump withdrew the US from that pact before imposing crippling sanctions on Tehran, targeting key industries like Iran's oil exports and sending its economy into free fall.

Zarif, a relative moderate within Iran's clerically overseen political system, was an architect of the nuclear deal, which offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for internationally-monitored limits on its nuclear program.

US sanctions targeting the foreign minister, however, do not inhibit his travels to New York for official United Nations business, in accordance with America's international obligations.

They also have little impact on Zarif financially.

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