Mnuchin imposes sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister, Rouhani calls it ‘childish’

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin charged that Zarif  “implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader.”

By World Israel News Staff and AP

Iran’s president says U.S. financial sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister are “childish” and a barrier to diplomacy.

Hassan Rouhani’s remarks Thursday came after the Trump administration announced it imposed financial sanctions on Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as part of its escalating campaign of pressure against the Islamic Republic.

The highly unusual action of penalizing another nation’s top diplomat followed President Donald Trump’s executive order placing sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Rouhani says the U.S. has “started doing childish things.”

In Washington, the Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on Zarif for acting on behalf of Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In a statement explaining the decision to impose sanctions on the Iranian foreign minister, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin charged that Zarif “implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world.”

Mnuchin had previously stated that Trump had instructed him to impose sanctions on the Iranian foreign minister. When Zarif was in New York City recently for meetings at the United Nations, his movement was restricted to a six-block area from the Iranian mission in midtown Manhattan.

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Since withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, the U.S. president has been imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which have sunk it “into a deep recession” and lifted inflation in the country toward 40 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund, as cited by the Financial Times.

Fears of a direct U.S.-Iranian conflict have risen since May with several attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, Iran’s downing of a U.S surveillance drone, and a plan for U.S. airstrikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute.

The Algemeiner contributed to this report.