The US ambassador in Iraq and two other American diplomats have been hit with sanctions by Iran over allegedly “coordinating terrorist acts” in a tit-for-tat response from Tehran to Washington blacklisting an Iranian official.
“US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller has had a central role in coordinating terrorist acts in Iraq and beyond, in the criminal assassination of General Soleimani and in advancing sanctions against our people,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh on Friday.
US Amb. to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, has had a central role in coordinating terrorist acts in Iraq & beyond, in criminal assassination of Gen. Soleimani & in advancing sanx agst our ppl. Today, Iran designated him & two other officials involved.
Anti-Iran moves won't go unanswered. pic.twitter.com/4BTc16S7TK
— Saeed Khatibzadeh (@SKhatibzadeh) October 23, 2020
He added: “Today, Iran designated him and two other officials involved. Anti-Iran moves won’t go unanswered.”
Iran also slapped sanctions on Tueller’s deputy Steve Fagin and the consul in the city of Erbil, Rob Waller.
Tehran has accused the trio of being “effectively involved in organizing, financially supporting, steering and committing acts of terror against the interests of the government or citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The move comes a day after Washington blacklisted the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, claiming that he worked for a military unit which it branded a “terrorist cell.”
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The US Treasury Department accused the official of training militia groups in Iraq with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the US designated a terrorist group last year.
Washington also imposed penalties against five Iranian entities, including an armed forces branch, on Thursday, citing “brazen attempts” to influence the US electoral process.
Iran-US relations began to seriously deteriorate this year after Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3. On October 18, Iran announced that the 13-year ban on buying or selling weapons – imposed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – had come to an end, despite Washington’s opposition. This week, the two nations exchanged strongly-worded remarks after Tehran hit back at the US for threatening sanctions on anyone looking to make deals with Iran after the expiration of the arms embargo.
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