TEHRAN, Iran – Iran on Tuesday slammed the Trump administration over new U.S. sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic's supreme leader and other top officials, with the Foreign Ministry saying the measures "permanent closure" of diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.
President Donald Trump enacted the new sanctions on Monday against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates. U.S. Iran's state-run IRNA news agency on Tuesday quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying that Trump's move means the end of diplomacy between the two countries.
"The fruitless sanctions on Iran's leadership and the chief of Iranian diplomacy mean the permanent closure of the road of diplomacy with the frustrated US administration," Mousavi said.
Washington says the measures were taken to discourage Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and supporting militant groups. This comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. about Tehran's unraveling nuclear deal with world powers
Mousavi's statement echoed that of Iran's U.N. ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, who warned on Monday that the situation in the Persian Gulf is "very dangerous" and said any talks with the U.S. are impossible in the face of escalating sanctions and intimidation. Meanwhile, the U.S. Envoy at the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen, said the Trump administration's aim is to get Tehran back to negotiations.
And on Tuesday, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the president was open to real negotiations and "all that Iran needs to do is open through" by
Bolton spoke at a high-profile trilateral security summit in Jerusalem.
He said American envoys are surging across the region in the collection of finding a path out of escalating tensions between the US and Iran but that the silence of the Islamic Republic has been "deafening."
"There is simply no evidence that Iran has made the strategic decision to renounce nuclear weapons," Bolton said.
The sanctions follow Iran's downing last week or a US surveillance drone, worth over $ 1
Trump last year re-imposed sanctions on Iran after pulling the U.S. out of the nuclear pact that world powers made with Tehran in 2015. Other nations stayed in the deal, which eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.
The latest round of sanctions denies Khamenei and senior Iranian military figures access to financial resources and blocks their access to any financial assets they have under US jurisdiction.
Trump said the new sanctions are not only in response to the downing of the American drone. The U.S. has blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers this month near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has denied any involvement.
Citing those episodes and intelligence about other Iranian threats, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already.
The sanctions were announced as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was holding talks in the Middle East with officials in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia about building a broad, global coalition that includes Asian and European countries to counter Iran. Pompeo is likely to face a tough sell in Europe and Asia, particularly from those nations still committed to the 2015 nuclear deal.