Iran slams new US sanctions as sign of 'ill will'

The sanctions come at a time when the US seems close to an agreement with Iran on its return to the 2015 nuclear deal. PHOTO: REUTERS

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran on Thursday (March 31) criticised a decision by the United States to impose new sanctions on the Islamic republic, saying it shows the Americans have bad intentions towards its people.

The US Treasury announced on Wednesday the newly imposed sanctions targeting several entities it accused of involvement in procuring supplies for Iran's ballistic missile programme.

"This move is another sign of the US government's ill will towards the Iranian people," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement.

The step proves "the current US administration, contrary to its claim, uses every opportunity to make baseless accusations and put pressure on the Iranian people", he added.

The United States said the new sanctions target Iranian national Mohammad Ali Hosseini and his "network of companies" as suppliers of the ballistic programme.

The move followed an Iranian missile attack on Erbil, Iraq on March 13 and an "Iranian-enabled" attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels on a Saudi oil facility last Friday, as well as other attacks by "Iranian proxies" on Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Iran had claimed responsibility for the March 13 missile strikes, saying they targeted an Israeli "strategic centre", and warning of more such attacks.

The sanctions come at a time when the United States seems close to an agreement with Iran on its return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

The accord gave Iran much-needed sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme that would guarantee it could not develop a nuclear weapon - something the Islamic republic has always denied seeking.

But it fell apart in 2018, when then-president Donald Trump withdrew the United States and reimposed biting economic sanctions.

Iran, in response, began rolling back on most of its commitments under the accord.

"The US, while claiming it is ready to return to the full implementation of its obligations under the nuclear agreement, continues to fundamentally violate it and UN Security Council Resolution 2231," Khatibzadeh said.

Indirect negotiations between the arch-rivals, which have been underway in Vienna for nearly a year, have overcome most disagreements but outstanding issues remain.

Among them is a demand by Iran that its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which carried out the attack on Erbil, be removed from a US terror blacklist.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.