Iran says U.S. sanctions imposed on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy

Jeannie Matthews
June 26, 2019

The comments by Hassan Rouhani came after the Trump administration sanctioned Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday.

"We do not ask for conflict", Trump said, adding that depending on Iran's response the sanctions could end tomorrow or "years from now".

Days later, the drone was shot down over what the U.S. says was global waters, but Iran says was its territory.

The US will also blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and block "billions" more in Iranian assets as part of expanded sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

Tehran has said the drone was flying in its airspace but Washington disagrees.

The AP reported that the U.S. cyber-attacks were the second go-to measure after President Trump backed off from launching a military strike against Iranian military and radar bases last week, on Thursday.

The targets of the new sanctions include senior military figures in Iran, blocking their access to any financial assets under USA jurisdiction.

U.S. media have also reported Trump secretly authorised cyber-attacks against Iran's missile defence systems and a spy network, but Tehran says no damage was done.

The CNN host went on to blast the "weird, impulse-driven policy" on Iran and questioned whether there were "any grownups in the White House" for naming the wrong ayatollah in their announcement of the new sanctions. "I do like keeping them abreast, but I don't have to do it legally".

Rouhani also criticized USA officials for wanting to sanction Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

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He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime". Trump's administration has said the deal struck under his predecessor President Barack Obama did not do enough.

The U.S. has already imposed a series of tough economic sanctions on Iran, including severe limits on its oil exports.

Iran's naval commander has warned that Iranian forces would not hesitate to act again and shoot down more United States surveillance drones that violate Iranian airspace.

U.S. officials say they want a deal that has restrictions on Iran's nuclear programme that don't expire; bans all types of uranium enrichment; and reins in Tehran's regional ambitions and ballistic missile programme.

"I disagree. Most people seem to disagree", said Trump.

Iran has denied any involvement.

Last week the two countries came the closest in years to direct military confrontation after Iran shot down a U.S. drone.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton told Iran that it should not "mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness" after President Donald Trump called off strikes against Iranian targets on Friday. He also criticized USA officials for wanting to sanction Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

It was an apparent reference to a tweet in which Trump said other countries should protect their own oil shipping in the Middle East rather than have the United States protect them. "Removal of its forces is fully in line with interests of U.S. and the world", Zarif tweeted.

Blanc said that the message this administration is sending is "more likely to lead to escalation than de-escalation". President Trump reiterated the ready to negotiate, if Iran is willing to.

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