(Persia Digest) – Former Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson has said: “Sanctioning the Supreme Leader and IRGC commanders is a symbolic gesture by a desperate America.”

President Donald Trump has imposed new sanctions on Iran to include the Supreme Leader, a number of IRGC commanders, and even the Iranian Foreign Minister. He said this is in retaliation for the downing of a US drone by the IRGC and many more reasons.

Former Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Hamidreza Asefi, told Persia Digest (PD) in an interview: “The US administration’s decision to sanction the Supreme Leader’s Office and IRGC commanders is a disdainful measure holding a number of messages. Firstly, it showed that the American team is integrated and no distinction should be made between Bolton, Pompeo, and Trump.”

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He continued: “Secondly, economic sanctions and maximum pressure on Iran have not been successful. Hence, the US Administration has now resorted to political harassment. The third message is that resistance by the Islamic Republic has been fruitful. In fact, the US is making its own situation more difficult out of desperation. Prior to Abe Shinzo’s trip to Tehran, Trump sanctioned Iran’s petrochemicals industry while it also expected negotiations. Presently, it is hoping to reach its objective with more stern sanctions, but this is bound to have the opposite effect.”

Speaking about the practical side of the latest sanctions, Asefi said: “This will not have serious practical effects; because, they have placed a number of IRGC commanders on their list of sanctions who will no longer be able to apply for US visas and this is not very serious. Furthermore, they have no assets there to block. The Supreme Leader has no assets there either. Two to three subsidiary companies of the Supreme Leader offices, such as the Mostazafan Foundation, have property in the US which may be confiscated; and these are only a handful.”

He underlined that the Foreign Ministry must intervene by saying: “The Iranian Foreign Ministry must follow-up on this issue in terms of its legal aspects; because the US Administration is in breach of international norms and principles of international law.”

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The former FM Spokesperson reiterated: “Nevertheless, it cannot be said that diplomatic channels were closed due to these new sanctions. These were totally blocked six to seven months ago and will continue to remain closed until Trump compensates for his mistakes and lifts sanctions.”

Commenting on the consequences of Javad Zarif being placed on the list of sanctions, Asefi said: “In my opinion, this will not limit his trips and contacts. Mr Zarif has no assets in the US for confiscation. This is rather a symbolic gesture out of desperation than a show of power. In reality, when Trump was unable to form a global coalition against Iran after the downing of its drone, he went for this radical program.”

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