22:35 GMT04 March 2021
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    The US issued another round of sanctions against Iranian organisations and individuals and foreign firms and persons doing business with them on Friday, with Tehran estimating that over 1,500 companies and Iranian nationals have now been sanctioned. The restrictions come amid unprecedented military and political tensions between the two nations.

    Iran has officially informed the United States that it will file a complaint with the International Court of Justice over Washington's "illegal actions" against Iranian diplomats working abroad if the harassment against them is not stopped, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has announced, his remarks cited by the IRIB News Agency.

    "The US government has long persecuted Iranian diplomats and their families in international organisations in the United States, in violation of international law, and these measures have disrupted the work of Iranian diplomats in several countries," the spokesman said.

    According to Khatibzadeh, Iran formally issued a note of warning to the US through its Swiss Embassy, with the note concerning US "illegal actions" against Iranian diplomats working at organisations including the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, all of which are headquartered in the United States.

    The spokesman added that "despite its commitments to host several international organisations, the US government has never been a worthy host, and throughout history...has sought to harass diplomats and the families and children of diplomats of countries with whom they have differences."

    The warning comes in the wake of a fresh round of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic on Friday, this time targeting Iranian defence sector organisations, as well as Chinese and Emirati firms and persons over the sale of steel products to Iran and/or association with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.

    On Thursday, a foreign policy advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei revealed that by Iran's calculations, Washington has now sanctioned over 1,500 Iranian companies and persons, not counting organisations and other restrictions.

    The outgoing Trump administration has gone on a sanctions frenzy in the last two months, targeting dozens of Iranian, Russian and Chinese companies and persons on a range of pretexts.

    The restrictions come amid heightened military tensions between Iran and the US-Israeli alliance, with Washington beefing up its naval and air patrols in the Middle East, including the Persian Gulf, and Tehran launching large-scale naval war games and unveiling a new underground missile base it says would help defend the country in case of any provocations from Iran's "demonic" adversaries.

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