Foreign ministry spokesman accuses Trump administration of destroying peace and security
Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor
Tue 25 Jun 2019
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has become the target of new US sanctions. Photograph: Caren Firouz/Reuters
Iran says the US decision to impose sanctions on its supreme leader and other top officials is “idiotic” and has permanently closed the path to diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.
Donald Trump imposed new sanctions on Monday against the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and top military chiefs, in an unprecedented step designed to increase pressure on Iran after Tehran’s downing of an unmanned American drone. Khamenei is Iran’s utmost authority who has the last say on all state matters.
Washington said it would also impose sanctions this week on Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, who negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal with the US and other major powers and has spearheaded Iranian diplomacy since.
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, described the White House as “afflicted by mental retardation” and said the sanctions against Khamenei were “outrageous and idiotic”, especially as the 80-year-old cleric has no overseas assets and no plans to ever travel to the US.
Tehran said the US had spent weeks demanding that Iran match America’s diplomacy with its own diplomacy, rather than military responses, but was now trying to immobilise its chief diplomat.
“Imposing useless sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader and the commander of Iran’s diplomacy is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy,” the foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet on Tuesday. “Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security.”