Few new sanctions left to impose on Iran, Russia: Robert O'Brien

October 26, 2020 - 12:4

TEHRAN – The U.S. has little opportunity left to impose new sanctions against Russia and Iran, as there are already many of them, U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien has said.

“One of the problems that we have faced with both Iran and Russia is that we now have so many sanctions against these countries that we have very little (opportunity) to do anything about it,” O’Brien told journalists on Sunday.

“But we are looking at all possible deterrent measures that we can apply to these countries, as well as others, including China and some states not yet mentioned, that are trying to influence Americans on the voting issue. This is unacceptable,” he said when asked how Washington could answer the question of how Russia and Iran allegedly received some information about the registration of American voters and wanted to influence the elections.

Washington has sanctioned five Iranian groups that it claims attempted to interfere in the November 3 presidential contest between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

In a statement on Thursday, the U.S. Treasury announced it designated Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the IRGC’s Quds Force, and the Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute “for having directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference” in the upcoming election.

It also designated the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union and International Union of Virtual Media “for being owned or controlled by” the IRGC’s Quds Force, the department said.

In response, Iran summoned the Swiss envoy on Thursday to protest against what it described as “baseless” U.S. claims.

“Iran’s strong rejection of American officials’ repetitive, baseless and false claims was conveyed to the Swiss ambassador,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state television. “As we have said before, it makes no difference for Iran who wins the U.S. election.”

Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran as Washington and Tehran have no diplomatic ties. Tensions have risen between the two states since 2018, when Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on Iran.

Alireza Miryousefi, the spokesman for Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations, has also said that Iran does not interfere in other countries’ elections.

Miryousefi told Newsweek on Friday that “we do not comment on election issues and are not interested in entering the debate.”

He made the remarks when asked to respond to Biden, who said during Thursday’s final presidential debate that he has “made it clear that any country, no matter who it is, that interferes in American elections will pay a price.”

The Democratic presidential candidate said it was “overwhelmingly clear” during this election “that Russia has been involved, China's been involved to some degree, and now we learn that Iran is involved.”

“They will pay a price if ‘m elected. They’re interfering with American sovereignty. That’s what’s going on right now,” he warned.

Miryousefi brushed off the warning, declaring Tehran’s neutrality in the affair.

Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei has also ruled out the allegations of interference in U.S. presidential election, saying the Islamic Republic does not meddle in the internal affairs of other countries.

“Iran has announced numerously that it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, and more importantly, it does not see any need to interfere,” Kadkhodaei said via Twitter on Saturday.

“The U.S. election is also a matter in which Iran is not interested nor it sees any reason to interfere,” he said, adding, “Of course, Trump should also know that the era of meddling in other countries’ internal affairs is over.”


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