Cleric to U.S.: Go ahead with Zarif sanctions ‘if that pleases you’

August 2, 2019 - 19:14

TEHRAN – Mohammad Javad Haj Ali Akbari, an interim Friday prayer leader in Tehran, has censured the U.S. sanctions on Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, telling the White House to go right ahead with the sanctions “if that makes you happy.”

“The U.S. diplomacy of begging reached nowhere, therefore they sanctioned our foreign minister,” Haj Ali Akbari told worshippers on Friday. “It seems that this makes them happy. Then go ahead if that makes you happy.”

The cleric further said the U.S. sanctions are a “source of pride” for the chief Iranian diplomat, and demonstrate “the fall of ethics and politics in America.”

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Zarif on Wednesday because he “acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The U.S. Treasury Department also said in its statement that Zarif is Iran’s “primary spokesperson around the world,” and that the ban “is sending a clear message that Iran’s “recent behavior is completely unacceptable.”

Sanctioning Zarif rooted in desperation: Iranian military

Meanwhile, in a statement on Thursday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic underlined the illegal nature of the U.S. measure and described it as an action rooted in desperation.

It said the undiplomatic attempt followed in the footsteps of the other instances of the U.S. violations of international law concerning the Islamic Republic.

The General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces added that by imposing sanctions on Iran’s chief diplomat, Washington thinks it can ramp up pressure on Iran and compensate for its back-to-back losses in the regional and international arenas.

MH/PA

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