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Iran 'permanently' closes diplomatic relations with US government after new sanctions are imposed

Sanctions against Iran’s supreme leader were brought in yesterday.

US President Donald Trump poses for a picture after signing an Executive Order to place further sanctions on Iran
US President Donald Trump poses for a picture after signing an Executive Order to place further sanctions on Iran
Image: DPA/PA Images

IRAN HAS SAID that US sanctions on its leaders represent the “permanent closure” of diplomacy with Washington.

The US imposed new sanctions against supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday, ahead of blacklisting Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later this week.

US President Donald Trump also imposed new sanctions against top Iranian military chiefs, pressuring the country he has threatened with “obliteration” if a war breaks out.

The sanctions follow weeks of escalating tensions in the country, coming after US claims that Iran attacked two oil tankers in the region and Iran’s shooting down of a US spy drone last week.

After the sanctions were imposed, Iran said it would no longer deal with the White House diplomatically.

“Imposing fruitless sanctions against Iran’s supreme leader and the commander of Iran’s diplomacy is the permanent closure of the path to diplomacy with Trump’s desperate government,” the country’s ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet.

“Trump’s government is destroying all established international mechanisms for keeping global peace and security,” he added.

Trump called the new punitive measures “a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions”.

A year after Trump unilaterally withdrew from a multilateral pact with Iran over its nuclear programme, tensions have flared with a series of attacks on tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters.

Washington blamed the incidents on Iran, accusations which Tehran denies.

And after Iran shot down a US spy drone last week, Trump ordered a retaliatory strike on Iran but said he had called it off at the last minute.

During a visit to Jerusalem today, US National Security Advisor John Bolton also hit out at Iran’s apparent silence on an offer to negotiate with Washington.

“The president has held the door open to real negotiations,” Bolton said in a statement. “In response, Iran’s silence has been deafening.” 

With reporting from - © AFP 2019

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