US sanctions against the Iranian Foreign Minister. Zarif: "Am I a threat?"
For Washington he acts in the name of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei and is the "spokesman" of the regime. The provision provides for the freezing of assets in the US or entities controlled by the Americans. For Tehran this is the "peak of stupidity and inconsistency". Zarif: sanctions that "have no effect on me".
Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The US Treasury Ministry yesterday imposed a series of targeted sanctions against the head of Iranian diplomacy, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, author - on the Tehran side - of the 2015 nuclear agreement. The United States believe he has acted on behalf of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei already subject to targeted sanctions ordered by President Donald Trump last June 24th.
According to a report released by the Treasury, the provision involves the freezing of any Zarif asset in the United States or in entities controlled by the Americans. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin called Tehran's head of diplomacy "the principal spokesman for the regime worldwide". "Javad Zarif - he continues - applies the reckless agenda of the supreme leader [ayatollah Ali Khamenei]" and is considered a "threat" to Washington.
"The United States - warns Mnuchin - is sending a clear signal to the Iranian regime" that "recent behavior is deemed unacceptable". While the Iranian regime "denies access to the internet to its citizens", the secretary concludes, Zarif "spreads the propaganda and disinformation of the regime throughout the world through these means".
Tehran's responded immediately that the United States is targeting Zarif because of his negotiating skills. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has slammed "the peak of stupidity and inconsistency" of American leaders who do not recognize "his ability to influence" Iranian politics and choose to "sanction" him.
This latest in a series of attacks [for now only diplomatic and commercial, but the risk of a conflict is not excluded] provoked Zarif (in the photo, at the time of the dialogue on nuclear power) to conclude: "The US' reason for designating me is that I am Iran's ‘primary spokesperson around the world’," he wrote. “Is the truth really that painful?” He added: “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.”
US-Iranian tensions were triggered by US President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, which was followed by the toughest sanctions in history against Iran. Washington, which has its sight sets on the oil exports of the Islamic Republic has strengthened the military presence in the area. But the sanctions are primarily affecting the population.
Faced with the policy of maximum pressure exerted by the United States, the other countries involved in the nuclear agreement are still looking for the way to negotiate to save what remains. Over the weekend a meeting was held in Vienna between Tehran and the countries still bound by the pact [Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China], defined by the Iranians as "constructive". The diplomatic effort fits into a context of growing incidents in the Gulf waters, which include the seizure of ships, the shooting down of drones and the explosion of oil tankers.