Iran accuses US of 'blind vindictiveness'

Iranian Foreign Ministry blasts new US sanctions against the paramilitary Basij group, says they are an insult to international mechanisms.

Elad Benari ,

American and Iranian flags
American and Iranian flags

Iran on Wednesday called the new US sanctions against its paramilitary Basij group an act of "blind vindictiveness".

"America's new sanctions are a clear insult to international and legal mechanisms and a result of the American government's blind vindictiveness against the Iranian nation," said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, according to AFP.

He called Washington's "lack of adherence to international legal mechanisms" a threat not only "to the Iranian people's interests but also the world's stability and security."

His comments came a day after the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on a network of more than 20 businesses it said had financial links to the Basij paramilitary group, which enforces internal security in Iran.

Iran's Bank Parsian, among the companies sanctioned on Tuesday, said in a statement that the measures would change little.

"This bank's international activities using dollars and America had ceased for years," it said, according to AFP.

Iran's biggest steel company, also on the sanctions list, similarly dismissing the measures as "nothing new".

The sanctions are the latest to have been imposed by Washington on Tehran since President Donald Trump withdrew in May from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

In August, Trump signed an executive order officially reinstating US sanctions against Iran. Additional US sanctions targeting Iran's oil and shipping industries will go into effect on November 4.

Last September, the US Treasury Department announced new sanctions targeting 11 companies and individuals accused of aiding Iran's Revolutionary Guards or cyber attacks on US banks.

The Islamic Republic has promised a “crushing” response if the United States designates the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group.