Iran taunts US over ‘totally useless’ sanctions as tensions rocket between rival nations

The sanctions were placed against Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, eight members of the Revolutionary Guards and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Iranian parliament national security commission chairman Mojtaba Zonnour has claimed that the sanctions were “totally useless” as the EU approved a new payments system called INSTEX. Reports claim INSTEX will allow companies and countries to get around the US’ secondary sanctions by allowing for goods and services to be exchanged without money being directly transferred between Tehran and the bloc.

Mr Zonnour told Mehr News: “They have sanctioned Foreign Minister Zarif, which is, according to international laws, impossible.

“We will continue our diplomacy.

“The Leader of the Islamic Revolution is also sanctioned, while he has not travelled to foreign countries after his Presidency and has no banking account.”

The US has previously said INSTEX was not commercially viable with the country’s representative for Iran saying he was “very doubtful” that the system could “be able to actually conduct transactions”.

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The EU confirmed on Friday that INSTEX had become operational.

Iran’s envoy on the nuclear deal also added that the system was working.

In a statement, the EU said: “France, Germany and the United Kingdom informed participants that INSTEX had been made operational and available to all EU Member States and that the first transactions are being processed.”

His comments come after a foreign expert predicted that the situation between Iran and the US threatened to “spiral” into war.

The world is edging closer to a new war which could turn out to be very “costly” for Washington, Dr Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the US-based think tank RAND.

She told “The risk of conflict is likely to remain high in the months ahead as long as the American maximum pressure campaign on Iran continues.

“The Iranians have already shown they are ready to attack US assets with the downing of the drone and other provocative acts in the Gulf to gain leverage back and demonstrate there’s a cost to the US withdrawal from the Iran deal.

“The American response has so far been limited to reported cyber attacks and now new sanctions on Iranian leaders.

“While each side may be trying to calibrate responses to send messages and keep conflict limited, the risk that these measures could spiral into a more expanded military campaign remains.

“And a war with Iran would likely be costly.”