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US imposes sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

WASHINGTON: The United States has imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, a move that escalates already heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The US Treasury Department’s announcement on Wednesday comes about two weeks after Zarif visited the US to attend a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The sanctions block Zarif’s assets in the country and prohibit American citizens from doing business with him.

In a statement, the Treasury Department said it issued the measures because “Zarif acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

The US imposed a series of sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on 24 June.

“The United States is sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that its recent behaviour is completely unacceptable,” said US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Zarif responded to the news on Twitter, saying the sanctions would have “no effect” on him or his family, as he has “no property or interests outside of Iran”.

“Thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda,” he tweeted.

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