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    Washington 'Cannot Expect to Stay Safe' Amid Economic War Against Iran – Tehran

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    Middle East
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    Last week, the US Treasury ramped up its sanctions against Iran, targeting the Islamic Republic's petrochemical industry over its suspected links to the Revolutionary Guards, a military unit which Washington earlier designated a 'terrorist' entity.

    The US "cannot expect to stay safe" from the fallout of the "economic war" that it has unleashed against Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said.

    Speaking alongside German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Tehran on Monday, Zarif said that "Mr. Trump himself has announced that the US has launched an economic war against Iran," and emphasised that "the only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war."

    Commenting on the growing tensions between Washington and Tehran, including the US move to deploy a carrier strike group in the Middle East, Zarif hinted that Iran was not intimidated, warning that "whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it."

    Zarif's comments come in the wake of Friday's move by the US Treasury to impose fresh sanctions targeting Iran's petrochemical sector, including a large petrochemical holding company known as Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, which has a vast network of subsidiaries and foreign sales agents.

    Iran's foreign ministry has since slammed the restrictions, saying they proved the "hollow" nature of earlier US talk about possible negotiations with Iran, and dismissing the US strategy of "maximum pressure," calling it a "defeated policy" which had no success by the Trump administration's predecessors.

    Earlier, Zarif encouraged other countries to ditch the dollar as the basis for international trade, suggesting that much of Washington's global economic influence would "go away" if nations did so.

    Tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated in May 2018, when the US unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Iran nuclear deal and slapped Iran with a series of sanctions against its banking and energy sectors. Last month, the US scrapped sanctions waivers to over half a dozen major importers of Iranian oil, and parked a carrier strike group in the Middle East, claiming the presence of a "credible threat" against the US and its regional interests by Iran and its allies.

    Iran dismissed the claims, and accused the US of engaging in "economic warfare" against ordinary Iranians. Last month, on the one year anniversary of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran announced that it may resort to restarting its non-civilian uranium enrichment activities unless the deal's other signatories could help find a way around US restrictions.


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