Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed that sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on his country last year have hampered rescue efforts in flood-stricken areas of the country, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Zarif tweeted late Monday that America's "maximum pressure" policy on Iran "is impeding aid efforts by #IranianRedCrescent to all communities devastated by unprecedented floods."

He claimed the sanctions have prevented Iran from acquiring badly needed equipment, including relief helicopters. "This isn't just economic warfare; it's economic TERRORISM," he stressed.

Nearly 60 people have died in flooding in Iran since mid-March.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last May and later reimposed the sanctions on Iran that were frozen as part of the deal, causing the Islamic Republic to feel the pressure economically.

The sanctions have partly led to a weaker rial currency in Iran that has fed into higher inflation.

While Iranian officials initially insisted that the sanctions would not harm the Islamic Republic, they have changed their tone in recent months.

Zarif recently called the US sanctions “unprecedented, inhumane and illegal”, and said Tehran would overcome the “medieval tactics” employed by Washington.

In December, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said US sanctions against his country amounted to "economic terrorism".

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday the floods in Iran show the "level of Iranian regime mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness."

"The regime blames outside entities when, in fact, it is their mismanagement that has led to this disaster," he said, according to AP.

"The United States stands ready to assist and contribute to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which would then direct the money through the Iranian Red Crescent for relief," stressed Pompeo.

In a tweet late Tuesday, Zarif called Pompeo's remarks "fake news" and urged the US to accept responsibility for economic pressures on Iranians.

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