Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif Reuters

Iran on Tuesday asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to push back against the United States after it imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, describing the move as a “a dangerous precedent”, reports the Reuters news agency.

In a letter to Guterres, Iran’s UN Ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, accused the United States of a “brazen violation of the fundamental principles of international law” and urged the international community to condemn the US behavior.

“Coercing nations into complying with the United States’ illegal demands threatens multilateralism, as the foundation of international relations, and sets a dangerous precedent, paving the way for those who aspire to rather divide, not unite, nations,” he wrote, according to Reuters.

Ravanchi asked Guterres to “to play your active role in preserving the integrity of the United Nations in line with your responsibility to counter the current dangerous trend”.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment on the letter. When asked about the US sanctioning of Zarif, Guterres told reporters last week, “When I ask for maximum restraint, I ask for maximum restraint at all levels.”

The Trump administration sanctioned Zarif last Wednesday, saying the Iranian Foreign Minister “implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin initially said on June 24 that Zarif would be blacklisted as part of sanctions targeting Iranian leaders announced by President Donald Trump.

However, it was later decided not to sanction Zarif for the time being. The Iranian Foreign Minister was even permitted entry to the US earlier this month, though he was forbidden from moving beyond six blocks of Iran's UN mission in Midtown Manhattan.

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