The Iranian President has called the new U.S. measures ‘mentally disabled’
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi hit back Tuesday at the new sanctions announced a day earlier by the White House, where he warned that the new moves by the U.S. represent a “permanent closure of path to diplomacy,” signaling a significant escalation of tensions between the two countries.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin outlined the details of the new sanctions on Monday at a press conference, including the U.S. sanctions against the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini.
Mnuchin said the new measures will be in addition to current economic sanctions, boasting, “We’ve literally locked up tens and tens of billions of dollars.”
The new sanctions will deny the leader's office access to international financing and "assets." They also announced sanctions on eight senior commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard, which Mnuchin claims are responsible for (unspecified) "recent activities."
Trump's decision to impose measures against Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is particularly concerning, President Hasan Rouhani said. They prove the U.S. is lying about seeking a resolution through dialogue as Zarif would play a leading role in brokering a peaceful resolution to the current tensions, Rouhani said.
The president said on Tuesday, “(Americans) call for negotiations. If you are telling the truth, why are you simultaneously seeking to sanction our foreign minister, too? It is obvious that you are lying.”
Mousavi said, “Trump’s administration is destroying all the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security."
Rouhani also pointed out the absurdity of sanctioning the Khameini's "assets" as he only owns a personal house and a Shitte place of worship, Rouhani said, “Iran’s Leader is not like those of other countries, who have billions in an account abroad so you can sanction it, seize it or block it.”
Tensions have been growing between the two countries ever since the Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA. Relations have deteriorated even further in the past week, as Iran downed a U.S. military drone that entered Iranian airspace, and a round of cyber attacks aimed at disabling Iran’s rocket missile systems were intercepted.