US sanctions target sunken Iranian ship, closed bank

Press TV – The sanctions recently re-imposed by the US on Iran have, among other things, targeted a sunken Iranian tanker and a closed bank in a gaffe that has drawn a reaction from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“The US designated a bank that was closed six years ago, and a ship that sank last year in a widely televised saga,” Zarif tweeted on Monday.

The move took place as part of “a desperate PSYOP (psychological operation) to amplify the list of sanctioned Iranian entities—unintentionally also proving it is targeting ordinary Iranians indiscriminately,” he explained.

Sanchi, the oil tanker on the list of sanctioned entities, collided with a wheat-carrying Chinese vessel off China’s shores in January, and drowned after days of burning on the surface. All the 32 people aboard the ill-fated ship lost their lives in the tragedy, which attracted much media attention worldwide.

Iran’s Tat Bank, which has likewise found its way to the list, was closed back in 2012.

Asked by Newsweek to explain the blunder, a State Department spokesperson said, “We’re not going to respond to every public comment made by Iran’s leaders.”

Earlier in the day, another round of anti-Iran sanctions, which had been lifted under a multilateral 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, came back into force, drawing criticisms from the United Nations as well as Washington’s allies in the European Union.

The bans – the second of their kind since Washington’s withdrawal from the deal in May — take aim at Iran’s banking, insurance and energy sectors, targeting more than 700 entities. The first round was reinstated in August.

Both the withdrawal and the re-introduction of the measures are deemed to be in clear violation of international law as the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been endorsed in UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Zarif tweeted earlier, “US bullying is backfiring,” adding, “The world can’t allow Trump & Co. to destroy global order,” and “the US—& not Iran—is isolated.”

The European Union, which coordinated the talks leading to the nuclear deal, is set to enact a financial mechanism that would render the sanctions ineffective.

Eight major countries, including India, China and Italy, have also pleaded for and obtained waivers from the sanctions, which means they will continue to purchase oil from Iran.