Iran Sanctions on Washington-Based Think Tank Draw US Ire
EghtesadOnline: Iran's decision to add a Washington-based think tank to its list of sanctioned entities for promoting "economic terrorism" against Tehran has drawn an angry reaction from the US administration.
In a tweet on Saturday, US State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Washington is taking Tehran's threats seriously and will hold it accountable if it compromises the safety of any American, CNN reported.
Hours earlier, according to Financial Tribune, Iran had announced sanctions against the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its CEO, Mark Dubowitz, for being "effectively involved, in a conscious and intentional manner, in designing, imposing and intensifying the impacts of economic terrorism against Iran".
FDD and its CEO in particular have been "seriously and actively" trying to harm the Iranian people's security and vital interests through measures such as fabricating and spreading lies, providing consultations, lobbying and launching a smear campaign, read an English statement published by the Foreign Ministry.
The ministry said the sanctions could be followed by judiciary actions against the foundation and Dubowitz.
Ortagus criticized the threat against the think tank, saying that it has the full support and protection of the US government.
"We intend to hold Iran responsible for directly or indirectly compromising the safety of any American," she said.
In a statement to AP, Dubowitz said his think tank "considers its inclusion on any list put out by [the Islamic Republic] as a badge of honor".
FDD led criticism of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in Washington.
The US reimposed sanctions on Iran after it pulled out of the painstakingly negotiated nuclear agreement, arguing that the accord did not do enough to limit the country's ballistic missile program and regional influence.
FDD defended the organization's work in a statement posted on Twitter Saturday and said it "conducts independent research and analysis on national security issues", according to Fox News.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said its action is based on the "Law on Countering the Violation of Human Rights and Adventurous and Terrorist Activities of the United States in the Region" passed on Aug. 13, 2017.
It added that the "unilateral and illegal" policy of "economic terrorism" pursued by the US administration is meant to bring about a regime change in the Islamic Republic and affect the government's policies, decisions and measures.
The statement added that Washington's approach toward Iran is also aimed at "harming the country's national and public security and damaging its independence, territorial integrity and national sovereignty".
The ministry noted that US actions and policies have had practical consequences in many cases, such as endangering the lives, health and freedom of people—including freedom of legitimate domestic and foreign business activities—damaging public property and facilities, causing serious harm to the environment, posing risks to aerial security, and threatening the safety of maritime navigation and "has reached the brink of a full-fledged economic war and terrorism against the people of Iran".