US imposes sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Zarif

US imposes sanctions on Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Zarif

BREAKING: The United States imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said on its website.

“Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

“The United States is sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that its recent behavior is completely unacceptable,” he added.

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The highly unusual action comes a month after President Donald Trump signed an executive order placing sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

US officials say Zarif’s travels to New York for official UN business would be uninhibited by the new sanctions, in accordance with America’s international obligations.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he granted a visa to Zarif and his delegation to visit New York, primarily to meet US obligations to the UN, but his movements were limited to six blocks between the UN headquarters and the Iranian mission and to the Iranian UN ambassador’s residence.

Iran recently started enriching uranium beyond a limit established in a 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, a deal from which Trump withdrew. Trump has since intensified economic sanctions on Tehran, and tensions have escalated.