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Iran FM: US is nothing more than a ‘jail warden’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran on 5 August 2019 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran on 5 August 2019 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said that the United States (US) is nothing other than a “jail warden” in response to the US imposing fresh sanctions on Tehran.

In a tweet, Zarif compared the US and its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to a jail warden: “Ask for reprieve (waiver), get thrown in solitary for the audacity. Ask again and you might end up in the gallows.” The only way to relieve the effects of the US sanctions which he called economic terrorism “is to decide to finally free yourself from the hangman’s noose.”

Yesterday, the US blacklisted a network of firms, ships and individuals which it said deal in “oil for terror” and are directed by or linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The blacklisting was in retaliation to the alleged continued supply of oil worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Syria, which is a direct breach of sanctions by the US and European Union (EU).

The tweet and comparison made by Zarif comes at a time when relations between Iran and the US are at an all-time low, having become increasingly tense since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

READ: Iran to develop centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment

Following the withdrawal from the deal, the US re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, beginning a policy of “maximum pressure” on the country in an effort to decimate its economy, particularly by eliminating its oil exports which provides its main source of income.

In response, Iran has begun reducing its compliance with the deal and detaching itself further from the agreement itself, which has pressured the EU to try to save the agreement and protect its economy from the US in order to encourage compliance. Iran yesterday refused a $15 billion European loan to help save the deal.

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