TEHRAN — Iran has called US foreign policy “delusional” and its chief diplomat a “loudspeaker for bullying, deceit and disdain,” after Washington unveiled new sanctions against Tehran.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announcing the measures against two Iranian judges on Thursday, said Washington would also restrict visas for Iranian officials.
“They will not achieve anything this way,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement over the weekend.
“They have shown nothing to America’s people and the world other than an inefficient, delusional, static and bullying foreign policy.”
US President Donald Trump’s administration already ended the vast majority of new visas for Iranians.
Washington also reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors after withdrawing from the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal last year and imposing a strategy of “maximum pressure.”
Pompeo said the new measures were “for the sake of human dignity” and that the United States stands with the Iranian people.
Mousavi said former Central Intelligence Agency chief Pompeo was unfit to be in the “civilized field” of diplomacy.
“Foreign ministers are usually the heralds of peace, friendship, dialogue and respect while Mr. Pompeo is a loudspeaker for bullying, deceit and disdain,” he said.
Pompeo said he had redesignated Iran as a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom, a status that adds a layer of potential sanctions against the government. He also said the Trump administration would enact travel bans on officials found to have violated human rights, as well as their families.
Announcing the sanctions, he condemned Iranian authorities over a crackdown against protests sparked by fuel price hikes.
“The United States has stood, and will stand under President Trump, for the Iranian people,” Pompeo said in a speech at the State Department. “The appeasement of the regime simply will not work.”
Amnesty International says more than 300 people died during the unrest.
Iran, which blamed the clashes on “rioters” and its enemies, has dismissed such figures as “utter lies.”
The sanctions announced by the Treasury Department freeze any assets the two judges may have in US jurisdictions and bar Americans from any transactions with the judges. The sanctions will also affect foreigners doing business with the judges, who sit at the top of two branches of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.
“Abolghassem Salavati and Mohammad Moghisseh oversaw the Iranian regime’s miscarriage of justice in show trials in which journalists, attorneys, political activists, and members of Iran’s ethnic and religious minority groups were penalized for exercising their freedom of expression and assembly and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, lashes, and even execution,” the State Department said in a statement.
Salavati runs Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. The US statement said he had sentenced so many people to capital punishment that he is nicknamed the “the Judge of Death.” Moghisseh presides over Branch 28 of court, and the statement said he had sentenced numerous artists to lengthy sentences for “collusion against national security and propaganda against the state allegedly found in their artwork.”