By Syed Zafar Mehdi
TEHRAN (AA) – Iran announced sanctions Tuesday against top officials in the outgoing US administration, including President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the sanctions were for their alleged involvement in the assassinations of top Iranian military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and for US officials “support for acts of terror against Iran” and economic sanctions against.
The move is part of the implementation process of a law recently passed by Iran to counter the US maximum pressure campaign against Iran.
Khatibzadeh said the "unilateral coercive measures" by the US against Iran were "in violation of UN Charter and international legal principles."
In addition to Trump and Pompeo, other US officials targeted are acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, CIA Director Gina Haspel, US Special Representative to Iran Elliot Abrams and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) head Andrea Gacki.
Several Trump administration officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, US envoy for Iran Brian Hook and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also figure on the list.
Iran's Foreign Ministry is likely to produce a detailed statement on the sanctions, which come one day before President-elect Joe Biden takes his post as new US president amid heightened tensions.
Last month, Iran blacklisted the US envoy in Yemen in response to the US designation of the Iranian envoy.
The Trump administration in the past four years has imposed sweeping sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities as part of its maximum pressure campaign against Tehran.
Sanctions have increased in the last few months following heightened tensions between the long-time adversaries in the Persian Gulf region.
Among those the Trump administration sanctioned are Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh and other officials.
Iranian government entities like a charity foundation run by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's office, Iran's revolutionary guards (IRGC), Iran's defense industries organization, Iran's petrochemical firms, and several companies in China and the United Arab Emirates have come under US sanctions for doing business with Iran.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have dangerously escalated in the final months of Trump’s presidency with both sides trading barbs and holding military exercises in the region.
Biden has showed a willingness to reverse some of the measures taken by his predecessor but there seems to be little optimism in Iran.