On Tuesday, the US imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian officials and entities following the resumption of indirect negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna.
The US sanctions targeted two Iranian law enforcement agencies — the Special Units of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces and the Counter-Terror Special Forces — and several officials affiliated with them over alleged human rights abuses.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh slammed the move to impose fresh sanctions during the renewed negotiations. “Even amid Vienna Talks, US cannot stop imposing sanctions against Iran,” Khatibzadeh wrote on Twitter.
“Washington fails to understand that ‘maximum failure’ & a diplomatic breakthrough are mutually exclusive,” he said, referring to the Trump administration’s hardline Iran policy, known as the maximum pressure campaign.
The seventh round of Vienna talks was held last week and concluded Friday. After the round, US officials accused Iran of not taking the negotiations seriously. But Khatibzadeh said the new sanctions are a sign that the US is the party that is not serious.
“Doubling down on sanctions won’t create leverage — and is anything but seriousness & goodwill,” Khatibzadeh said. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said Tuesday that the Vienna talks should resume this Thursday.
The sanctions on Iran were part of a series of measures the US imposed ahead of President Biden’s “Summit for Democracy,” which will be held Thursday and Friday. The US also sanctioned officials in Uganda and Syria. Biden is expected to push the over 100 countries participating in the summit to implement sanctions of their own against government officials.