'New US sanctions mean end of diplomacy,' says Iran

Potential for conflict with Iran persists

Iran on Tuesday sharply criticized new USA sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic's supreme leader and other top officials, saying the measures spell the "permanent closure" for diplomacy between the two nations.

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"We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its risky activities and its aspirations".

These new sanctions will be countered by Russian Federation and its partners, deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told state news agencies. Iran has since said it will drop adherence to some of the limits the deal imposed on its nuclear activities, but has insisted its atomic programme is entirely for civilian purposes.

John Smith, former director of the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), said the US had never targeted an Iranian head of state before and that was a sign Trump was getting personal.

In response, the United States has sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there.

The escalation prompted fears of an open military conflict between the two countries.

"The US decision today to impose more sanctions against Iran is yet another indication of continued US hostility against the Iranian people and their leaders".

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Hassan Rouhani said Donald Trump's policy was one of desperation, calling the White House "mentally retarded".

There was no immediate reaction from Washington early on Tuesday to the remarks from Iran.

The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Monday at the request of the United States, whose acting ambassador Jonathan Cohen alleged Iran was to blame for attacks on commercial tankers in the Gulf in May and June and urged the world to tell Tehran its actions were unacceptable. U.S. officials declined to comment on the attack. However, in Iran's case, there are no signs Iranian leadership would welcome talks. Trump's administration has said the deal struck under his predecessor President Barack Obama did not do enough.

He said the ayatollah's own finances would now be in USA crosshairs as he stepped up the rhetoric against Iran, despite calling off US airstrikes minutes before planes were due to take to the air on Thursday night.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the US issued a joint statement Monday calling on Iran to stop retaliatory actions that threaten regional stability as tensions with Tehran grow.

Mr Pompeo is likely to face a tough sell in Europe and Asia, particularly from those nations still committed to the 2015 nuclear deal. "Chuck, we've spent $7 trillion in the Middle East right now". "The supreme leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible of the hostile conduct of the regime".

Relations between the two nations continued to sour, and in May - a year after Mr Trump abandoned the nuclear deal - the USA stepped up pressure on Iran by ending exemptions from secondary sanctions for countries still buying Iranian oil.

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