The US Treasury Department for the first-time imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif, including sanctions freeze assets in the United States and punish those who support him financially, a US Treasury Department official said.
Earlier, the US Treasury Department have imposed sanctions on eight senior Revolutionary Guard commanders, saying sanctions would be imposed on Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif later.
Sanctions against Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the laughing face of diplomacy, as described by the Iranians, has preoccupied the Iranian elite over the past few weeks. Targeting it with sanctions undermines the head of Iranian diplomacy, and may have serious implications for the man who has lived in the United States and has good relations with American diplomats, the Europeans have made it possible for years to conclude a nuclear deal in 2015.
Within Tehran, sanctions are seen as a barrier to diplomacy with the United States because Zarif is Iran’s reformist face, which tends to expand its relations with the West, and is known for its openness to negotiations with the Arabs, especially the United States, who led marathon negotiations and a nuclear negotiating team in 2015.
However, he was also not spared from the fire of militants inside, whom he sees as pro-Western. He was insulted in the “Gando” TV series of espionage, which angered him and sent a message to the supreme leader denouncing the series, which was shown on Iranian television under the direct supervision of Khamenei.
In June, President Hassan Rouhani said the sanctions on Zarif, one of his closest ministers and known for his loyalty, were a sign of the United States’ lying about its willingness to negotiate with Iran, his adviser Hussamuddin Ashna said at the time on his Twitter account: “We have Banning the negotiator means they do not want to negotiate”.
Tehran did not consider the minister’s boycott of the West to be banned, and observers inside Iran ruled out this last month. However, Yusuf Moulay, an expert on international law in Iran, said its repercussions would depend on the type of sanctions to be imposed, saying legally that should not happen.
The imposition of sanctions on Zarif has symbolic meaning in targeting the head of Iranian diplomacy. Immediately after the sanctions were announced, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif replied: “The US sanctions have no effect on me or on my family because I have no property or interests outside Iran.” Sanctions imposed on him because he represents a “threat” to her agenda.
On upcoming talks, a US official said America did not consider Zarif to be the main point of contact in possible nuclear talks and would like to communicate with a person with a major role in decision-making.
Hours before the sanctions, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif recommended to his American counterpart Mike Pompeo, to accept an interview with Iranian journalists instead of offering hollow proposals.