RNA – Addressing a congregation of worshippers in Tehran on Friday, Hujjat al-Islam Mohammad-Javad Haj-Ali-Akbari said, “It is an honour for Mr. Zarif and the Foreign Ministry that the Americans have sanctioned him but this method is indicative of the collapse of the ruling system of the United States.”
“The move by the government of the United States also shows that the discourse of resistance [neither negotiation nor war] has been effective,” the cleric added.
It also indicates that the United States policy of “begging” has got nowhere and that Washington has been “suffering from strategic confusion,” he stated.
On July 31st, the United States Department of State said Washington sanctioned Mr. Zarif for acting on behalf of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei. The president of the United States had issued an executive order on June 24, imposing sanctions on the Supreme Leader and his office and authorizing sanctions on others associated with Ayatollah Khamenei.
The senior Iranian diplomat has dismissed the move by the United States, saying that being designated by the United States would not affect him since he has ho properties outside Iran.
“We know that calling for dialogue and peace is an existential threat to the B-Team. And since the reason for designating me is my words, would ‘United States persons’ need an OFAC license to ‘engage’ with me by reading my writings or listening to interviews?” Mr. Zarif said in a Twitter post.
The remarks came against the backdrop of increased tensions between Iran and the United States after the Islamic Republic shot down an advanced United States spy drone over its territorial waters.
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on June 20 that a United States spy drone that violated the Iranian territorial airspace in the early hours of the day was shot down by the IRGC Aerospace Force’s air defence unit near the Kuh-e-Mobarak region in the southern province of Hormozgan.
The intruding drone was reportedly shot by Iran’s homegrown air defence missile system “Khordad-3.”
Later on the same day, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, said he had called off a retaliatory attack on a number of targets in Iran and said that he was ready to speak with Iranian leaders and come to an understanding that would allow the country to improve its economic prospects. “What I’d like to see with Iran, I’d like to see them call me.”
“I look forward to the day where we can actually help Iran. We’re not looking to hurt Iran,” Trump added.
However, on June 24, Trump announced new sanctions against top Iranian officials, including the office of Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s foreign minister, and senior commanders of the IRGC.