(Persia Digest) - The administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that by targeting Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with sanctions, the United States has forfeited its right to diplomatically engage the Islamic Republic.

Ali Rabiei, spokesperson for the Iranian administration, made the remark at a routine press conference on Sunday with reference to the US administration’s recent imposition of sanctions on Zarif.

“Is it anything but risible for a government to constantly claim to be open to negotiation and then place sanctions on the foreign minister of the very country that it invites to talks?” Rabiei asked. “They invite him (Zarif) to talks in a meeting with a Senator and then they place sanctions on him!”

Press TV reports that he was referring to a recent meeting between US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Zarif reported by The New Yorker during which Paul extended an invitation on behalf of US President Donald Trump to Iran’s top diplomat.

Shortly before the US placed sanctions on Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif, US President Trump invited him to the White House but was snubbed, a report says.

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Rabiei said the sanctions were in breach of all diplomatic regulations and an “unprecedented development” in the history of global diplomacy.

After imposing the sanctions on Zarif, US administration officials attempted to portray the Iranian foreign minister as not having real decision making power. This is despite the fact that Zarif had been invited for talks at the Oval Office in the meeting with Paul. The Iranian foreign minister reportedly dismissed such a potential meeting at the time merely as a photo op for Trump.

Rabiei stressed that “attacking” Zarif with the sanctions equaled “attacking the foundations of the Iranian nation-state.”

“America shall know that in the opinion of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Zarif is [Iran’s] chief of foreign policy, chief of public diplomacy, and chief of security diplomacy, and that all diplomatic pathways must go through him.”

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