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U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks to the media after arriving at Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz, July 23, 2019

The United States on July 31 imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said on its website.

The Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on Zarif for acting on behalf of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Zarif responded to the news by tweeting, that he has no property outside Iran and adding, "Thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda."

In July, there were reports the U.S. was considering not to issue a visa for Zarif to visit New York for a UN related meeting.

Tensions have risen between the United States and Iran following U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal last year from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran. Fears of a direct U.S.-Iranian conflict have risen since May with several attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, Iran's downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, and a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute.

Reporting by Reuters