Iran slams new US sanctions as sign of 'ill will towards Iranian people'

Iran slams new US sanctions as sign of 'ill will towards Iranian people'
Iran has criticised the United States for imposing new sanctions, stating it's 'another sign of the US government's ill will towards the Iranian people'.
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Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said the US 'uses every opportunity to make baseless accusations... on the Iranian people' [Getty]

Iran on Thursday criticised the United States for imposing new sanctions on the Islamic republic, saying it shows the Americans harbour bad intentions towards its people.

The US Treasury announced on Wednesday the measures targeting several entities it accused of involvement in procuring supplies for Iran's ballistic missile programme.

"This move is another sign of the US government's ill will towards the Iranian people," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement.

The step proves "the current US administration, contrary to its claim, uses every opportunity to make baseless accusations and put pressure on the Iranian people," he added.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) meanwhile said Iran's "missile prowess" and regional influence are "red lines" ,according to a statement posted on its website.

The IRGC "will confront the slightest mistake of ... enemies against the Islamic homeland anywhere with decisive and destructive answers," it added.

The United States said the new sanctions target Iranian national Mohammad Ali Hosseini and his "network of companies" as suppliers of the ballistic programme.

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The move followed an Iranian missile attack on Arbil, Iraq on March 13, an attack by Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels on a Saudi oil facility and other recent attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Iran had claimed responsibility for the Arbil missile strikes, saying they targeted an Israeli "strategic centre", and warning of more such attacks.

The sanctions come as the United States seems close, according to many observers, to an agreement with Iran on its return to the 2015 nuclear deal with a group of major powers.

The accord gave Iran much-needed sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme that would guarantee it could not develop an atomic weapon -- something Tehran has always denied seeking.

But the deal fell apart in 2018, when then-president Donald Trump withdrew the United States and reimposed biting sanctions.

Iran, in response, began rolling back most of its commitments under the accord.

"The US, while claiming it is ready to return to the full implementation of its obligations under the nuclear agreement, continues to fundamentally violate it and UN Security Council Resolution 2231," Khatibzadeh said.

Indirect negotiations between the arch-rivals, which have been underway in Vienna for nearly a year, have overcome most disagreements but outstanding issues remain.

Among them is a demand by Iran that the IRGC, which carried out the attack on Arbil, be removed from a US terror blacklist.