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Tehran Accuses Washington of Using Sanctions to Wage 'Economic Terrorism'

The Iranian foreign ministry has responded to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's claims about an Iranian economy on a road to "ruin."

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi has lashed out at Pompeo over projections of a 3.6 percent decline in Iran's GDP in 2019 due to its support for the Syrian government, suggesting such claims are "merely based on populism" and "fallacy," and that Iran's contribution to the fight against terrorism in the region has raised concerns among US officials.

"The American officials are seeking to find a pretext to cover up their crimes against the people in the region and Iran, using economic terrorism and oppressive and illegal sanctions as a tool," Qassemi said in a press briefing on Tuesday, PressTV has reported.

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Washington, the spokesman noted, was trying "to launch a psychological war [against Iran], turning a deaf ear to international reactions as well as criticisms of the US's confrontational and inhumane sanctions from countries and human rights institutions."

Calling President Trump's anti-Iranian policy stance a "strategic mistake," Qassemi suggested the error was based on the "hollow dreams" of unnamed "isolated and notorious" states, individuals and terror groups.

Earlier this week, Mike Pompeo tweeted about projections by the IMF about an expected 3.6 percent decline in Iran's GDP in 2019, boasting that "That's what happens when the ruling regime steals from its people and invests in Assad."

President Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May, promising to restore sanctions and cut Iran's energy exports down "to zero." Washington's exit from the treaty left the other signatories, including Russia, China, and several European powers scrambling to try to save it, and to a search for ways to sidestep US sanctions, which also threaten foreign companies doing business with Tehran.

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