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Iran Accuses U.S. Of Trying To 'Poison Atmosphere' With 'Illegal' Sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused U.S. President Donald Trump's administration of trying to "poison the atmosphere" with new sanctions despite Tehran's adherence to the 2015 nuclear accord.

The administration on July 18 announced a new round of sanctions against 18 individuals and entities connected with Iran's ballistic missile program and other military activities one day after certifying that Iran was complying with its nuclear deal with world powers.

"This unfortunately has become a bad habit for this administration," Zarif told reporters at United Nations headquarters in New York. "The international community has read this very loud and clear and continues to deal with Iran without much attention to this theater."

While the White House acknowledged Iran is technically in compliance with the deal, it accused Tehran of breaching "the spirit" of the deal because it continues to test missiles that Washington claims can carry nuclear warheads.

Both the previous and current U.S. administrations have also condemned Iran's regional policies, including its intervention in the Syrian civil war and its support for Shiite armed groups accused of terrorism and spreading instability.

Zarif called the new sanctions "illegal" and told CBS News that they violate "the spirit" of the nuclear deal.

"We will look at it and see whether it violates the letter of the deal. And we will act accordingly," he said.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters