In a tweet, Pompeo called the magazine “#FakeNewsweek,” saying that the US “does not, and never did, sanction food and medicine,” nor monetary transactions related to humanitarian needs.
Shame on #FakeNewsweek for helping @JZarif spread lies. The truth is: the U.S. does not, and never did, sanction food and medicine. They are exempt from sanctions, as are financial transactions related to humanitarian needs.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) 12 ноября 2018 г.
Pompeo’s comments came after Newsweek published an article last week with a headline suggesting Pompeo said Iranians would not eat if they did not follow the US’ will. The story quoted an interview Pompeo gave to BBC Persian, in which he said that the Iranian leadership should make decisions that would address their people’s needs.
“The leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat. They have to make a decision that they want to use their wealth to import medicine and not use their wealth to fund [Islamic extremism]," Pompeo said in the interview, according to Newsweek, adding that the “Iranian people will take a response that tries to fix that themselves” if their government chooses to “squander” and “spoil” Iranian wealth.
Zarif criticized Pompeo on Twitter, saying that “like his predecessors, he'll also learn that — in spite of US efforts — Iran will not just survive but advance w/out sacrificing its sovereignty.”
#WeWontForget @SecPompeo openly threatening to starve Iranians—a crime against humanity—in a desperate attempt to impose US whims on Iran. Like his predecessors, he'll also learn that—in spite of US efforts—Iran will not just survive but advance w/out sacrificing its sovereignty. pic.twitter.com/GJiN7rI82Q— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) 10 ноября 2018 г.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that there have been medicine shortages in Iran since additional US sanctions took effect November 4. According to the report, the sanctions “have made it nearly impossible for foreign pharmaceutical companies to continue working in the country.”
The second package of anti-Iranian sanctions, targeting the country's oil market, was reintroduced last week. The previous package was imposed in August after US President Donald Trump ordered the US to withdraw from 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.