Published: Mon, June 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Iran dismisses United States call for dialogue as 'hollow'

Iran dismisses United States call for dialogue as 'hollow'

In a statement on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi strongly condemned the new United States sanctions on Iran's petrochemical companies, deeming the move an instance of "economic terrorism" and in line with the hostile policies of the White House toward the Iranian nation.

The Trump administration announced sanctions against Iran's largest petrochemical company on Friday as part of an effort to choke off resources to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite wing of the country's military that the US named a terrorist organization earlier this year. "This action is a warning that we will continue to target holding groups and companies in the petrochemical sector and elsewhere that provide financial lifelines to the IRGC", Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin had said in a statement.

The US Treasury department said in a statement it was due to the firm providing financial support to Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters (Khatam al-Anbiya), the engineering conglomerate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman slammed the latest US action.

Just this week, the top American military commander in the Middle East told NBC News he believed Iran or its proxies still pose an "imminent threat" to the US.

U.S. -Iranian tensions have heightened further since April because of Washington's moves to cut off Iran's oil exports, its deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group to deter any Iranian attacks on U.S. interests, and recent attacks on Saudi, Norwegian and Emirati tankers that Washington blamed on Tehran.

US President Donald Trump previously sanctioned Iran's metals industry, and reimposed strict economic sanctions on its oil sector last autumn.

In 2018, the Trump administration withdrew from a 2015 deal between Tehran and leading global powers that imposed restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

USA law already punished U.S. persons who deal with the IRGC with up to 20 years in prison because of the group's designation under the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, a different sanctions programme.

"The United States' unilateral nuclear as well as economic sanctions in defiance of Security Council resolution 2231 and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action have reached an unprecedented level during the past few months", Iran's ambassador to the United Nations said in the letter, which was dated May 23.

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