05:22 GMT +322 September 2019
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    US Sanctioned Zarif Because They Fear His Negotiating Skills - Iran FM Spokesman

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    The US Department of the Treasury said on Wednesday that Washington sanctioned Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Moreover, a senior presidential administration official said the United States would not treat Zarif as a primary point of contact if Washington negotiated a new nuclear agreement with Tehran.

    Zarif has responded to US sanctions imposed on him by saying "thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda".

    Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet that the US has sanctioned Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif because they feared his negotiating skills.

    "The peak of stupidity and inconsistency of America's leaders is at a point where they don't recognize Dr. Zarif as being influential in Iran's policy but with the ultimate ignorance they sanction him!" Mousavi said. "The Americans have a strong fear of the logic of Dr. Zarif and his negotiating skills".

    US-Iran relations have deteriorated since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement, last spring. The United States proclaimed it intends to bring down Iran’s sale of oil to zero and re-introduced sanctions on almost all major sectors of the Iranian economy.

    In May, Tehran announced its own decision to partially suspend obligations under the JCPOA and gave the other agreement signatories - France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and the European Union - 60 days to save the accord by facilitating oil exports and trade with Iran. As the deadline expired, Iran said it would begin enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent level set in the JCPOA and warned it would gradually abandon its nuclear commitments every 60 days.

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    US Sanctioned Zarif Because They Fear His Negotiating Skills - Iran FM Spokesman
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    Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iran, United States
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