Tehran says fresh US sanctions block path to diplomacy

Al-Monitor – “The White House is suffering from mental disability,” said enraged Iranian President Hassan Rouhani June 25 in response to new US sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and several other senior Iranian officials.

The punitive measures were approved by President Donald Trump as “a strong and proportionate response” to what he called “Iran’s increasingly provocative actions.” Last week, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down a US drone over the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, saying the surveillance aircraft had violated its airspace, while Washington insisted the Global Hawk drone was simply flying within international borders.

In a defiant gesture against Trump’s move, Rouhani praised Iran’s missile capabilities, expressing his gratitude to the IRGC for downing the sophisticated drone. He also noted that the latest US sanctions contradict Trump’s repeated pushes for negotiations. “By banning Iran’s foreign minister, you once more proved that your claims about dialog are but a lie,” Rouhani said, referring to US government plans that will further include in the same sanctions measures to target Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later this week.

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