Iran imposes sanctions on US envoy to Iraq in tit-for-tat move | Middle East

Three US diplomats in Iraq have engaged in ‘terrorist acts’ against Tehran’s interests, foreign ministry says.

Iran has imposed sanctions on the US ambassador to Iraq citing American “terrorist” acts against its interests in a tit-for-tat move after Washington blacklisted Tehran’s Baghdad envoy.

Matthew Tueller and two other US diplomats in Iraq “have effectively engaged in organising, financing, leading and committing terrorist acts against the interests of the government or citizens” of Iran, the foreign ministry said in a statement released on Twitter on Friday.

It accused them of being involved in the killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike near Baghdad’s airport in January, “support for extremist and terrorist groups”, and implementing US sanctions against Iran.

The two other diplomats are Tueller’s deputy, Steve Fagin and Rob Waller, head of US consulate in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

“Anti-Iran moves won’t go unanswered,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh wrote on Twitter with the statement attached.

Washington on Thursday slapped new sanctions on five Iranian entities over “brazen attempts” to interfere with the November 3 US elections, with Tehran strongly denying the accusations.

The US also separately blacklisted Tehran’s envoy to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi, describing him as a “close adviser” to Soleimani.

In response, Masjedi told state media he was “pleased to hear the news” that the “terrorist and criminal regime of the US has put me once more on the list of its unjust sanctions alongside 80 million Iranians”.

Tensions between arch-enemies Tehran and Washington have increased since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran and world powers and reimposed punishing sanctions.

Fears of outright conflict arose in January with the killing of Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

source.



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