December 5, 2019
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‘Piracy, bribery & blackmail’: Iran slams US sanctions as economic terrorism against civilians Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dubbed US sanctions against states “rouge behavior,” claiming they serve Washington’s goal of “illegitimate” political objectives without consideration for who suffers in the end.

“US economic terrorism against Cuba, China, Russia, Syria, Iran […] deliberately target civilians, trying to achieve illegitimate political objectives through intimidation of innocent people.

US rouge behavior now includes piracy, bribery & blackmail,

Zarif  on Friday.

The top diplomat’s comments follow Washington’s latest round of sanctions against Tehran, set in motion on Wednesday. The blacklist includes another 20 Iranian individuals and oil shipping companies, along with several tankers.

In a statement announcing the new list, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said that, with this latest measure, Washington was taking action “against a large shipping network that is directed by and financially supports the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah.”

Among the sanctioned individuals is Akhilesh Kumar, captain of beleaguered Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya. The US State Department’s special representative for Iran unsuccessfully tried to bribe Kumar into giving the tanker to the US coalition in a scandalous move that Washington admitted to earlier this week.

Washington insists that sanctions are necessary to pressurize Tehran into scrapping its alleged nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as ending its support for militant groups abroad. Iran, which has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, slams the sanctions as unjustified and unlawful.

Tehran has been urging the EU to shield it from US sanctions, making it a condition for Iran’s return to full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA ) agreement. The US unilaterally left the deal just over a year ago, re-imposing sanctions and promising to reduce Iran’s oil industry – a major source of income – to zero.

In an interview with RT, Zarif recently stated that Tehran is self-reliant enough to survive without the JCPOA, but warned that if Europe doesn’t intervene to help prevent US aggression against the Islamic Republic, it will not be the last international accord trampled on by the US “school bully.”

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Conrad Contributor