Iran’s foreign minister has denounced renewed US sanctions against its central bank following the Saudi attacks as an attempt to deny ordinary Iranians access to food and medicine, and said the move was a sign of US desperation.
The United States on Friday imposed more sanctions, targeting the Central Bank of Iran, which was already under US sanctions, the National Development Fund of Iran — the country’s sovereign wealth fund — and an Iranian company that US officials say is used to conceal financial transfers for Iranian military purchases.
“This is a sign of US desperation ... When they repeatedly sanction the same institution, this means their attempt at bringing the Iranian nation to its knees under ‘maximum pressure’ has failed,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in remarks shown on state television.
“But this is dangerous and unacceptable as an attempt at blocking ... the Iranian people’s access to food and medicine,” Zarif said, speaking after arriving in New York for the annual UN General Assembly.
Zarif said he would on Wednesday meet foreign ministers of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear accord, which was agreed with Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia as well as the United States. “As we have said before, the United States can only attend if it returns to the (nuclear accord) ... and ends its economic war against Iran,” Zarif said.
The US withdrew from the accord last year and re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.
“I hope the US government realises that they are no longer the only economic superpower in the world and that there are many countries that want to benefit from the Iranian market,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to state media.
After reports on social media of a cyber-attack on some petrochemical and other companies in Iran, a state body in charge of cyber security denied there had been a “successful” attack.
“Based on our observations ... there has not been a successful cyber-attack on oil facilities and other critical infrastructure,” said an official statement carried by IRNA.
NetBlocks, an organisation that monitors internet connectivity, earlier reported “intermittent disruptions” to some internet services in Iran starting on Friday evening.
The group said the impact was limited, affecting only specific providers, and the cause was unclear. “Data are consistent with a cyber-attack or unplanned technical incident on affected networks as opposed to a purposeful withdrawal or shutdown incident,” it tweeted.
NetBlocks Director Alp Toker said they saw four Iranian networks falling offline over a three hour period on Friday evening. This began when the first reports emerged and ended shortly afterwards. The networks have been stable since.