U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Foreign Minister Who Claims It’s Because America Considers Him a ‘Huge Threat’
The United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), on Wednesday, slapped sanctions on Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the midst of escalating tensions between the Islamic Republic’s leadership and the western world.
The sanctions were imposed pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13876 “because Zarif acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Ayatollah Ali Hossein Khamenei.
As such, all of his properties and possessions in the United States are now blocked, as is Zarif’s ability to access them. He is also barred from entering the United States. In addition to this, any person or business that facilitates a significant transaction for or on behalf of Zarif, including foreign nationals, “may themselves be exposed to designation,” the Treasury notes.
In late June, President Trump issued Executive Order 13876 imposing sanctions on Khamenei and the Supreme Leader’s Office (SLO). That same day, Treasury added Khamenei to OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) under this new authority.
The U.S. government’s action follows a series of bad behaviors from the Iranian government including illegal missile tests, their attack on and seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, and shooting down a U.S. drone also in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran is also holding several British and American nationals in their prisons, likely as part of their attempts at a quid pro quo scenario, similar to what the previous Obama administration presented them with the release of four American hostages in exchange for untraceable “palettes of cash,” amounting to $1.7 billion.
However, it is highly unlikely the Trump administration will cave to such pressures.
That money went mostly to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Islamic Republic’s adventurism in Syria, Libya, and other parts of the Middle East.
“We consider Javad Zarif, the foreign minister, an illegitimate spokesman for Iran,” Trump’s National Security Advisor and former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told FOX Business’s Lou Dobbs on his show shortly after news of the imposition of the sanctions broke.
However, Zarif dismissed the sanctions as an excuse to cover for what he claims is the Trump administration’s fear of his power. “The US’ reason for designating me is that I am Iran’s ‘primary spokesperson around the world’ Is the truth really that painful?” Zarif tweeted. “Thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda.”
Trump has maintained that he is not seeking regime change in Iran. But he has made it clear that he wants Iran “out of Yemen,” where the IRGC and its trained Houthi rebels are constantly sowing discord and chaos through a proxy war between them and Saudi Arabia, which has recently strengthened its alliance with the United States.