Iran blacklists US-based think tank over ‘economic terrorism’
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Iran blacklists US-based think tank over ‘economic terrorism’

Tehran’s foreign ministry accuses Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its chief Mark Dubowitz of ‘launching a smear campaign’ against it

Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), speaks during the FDD's National Security Summit in Washington, October 19, 2017. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), speaks during the FDD's National Security Summit in Washington, October 19, 2017. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has blacklisted the US-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its chief Mark Dubowitz on accusations of being behind “economic terrorism” against the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement issued late Saturday that it had “added the so-called Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and its director to the sanctions list.”

“The American institution with the deceitful name” and Dubowitz were accused of being involved in “designing, imposing and intensifying the impacts of economic terrorism against Iran,” it said, without detailing the specific alleged actions.

The FDD and Dubowitz were blamed for “seriously and actively trying to harm the Iranian people’s security and vital interests,” according to the English-language statement posted on the ministry’s website.

They were accused of doing so through “fabricating and spreading lies, encouraging, providing consultations, lobbying, and launching a smear campaign” against Iran.

As a result, they would be “subject to legal consequences,” it said.

The move would be “without prejudice to any further legal measures that the other administrative, judicial or security institutions and organisations may take” against them and their “collaborators and accomplices.”

This combination of two pictures shows US President Donald Trump, left, on July 22, 2018, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on February 6, 2018. (AP Photo)

The FDD describes itself as a Washington-based “non-partisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.”

It strongly opposed the 2015 deal that saw world powers lift sanctions against Iran in return for limits on its nuclear program.

Tensions between arch-foes Iran and the United States have escalated since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord last year and began reimposing sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran’s economy nosedived since the US pullout from the nuclear deal last year. The country’s monthly inflation rate is at 40.4% and the national unemployment rate is some 12%. Among youth, it is even worse, with around 25% out of a job.

The country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, sent a bill to parliament last week that would cut four zeroes from the value of the its sanctions-battered currency, the rial.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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