Iran announced on Saturday that the Islamic State has banned a retired U.S. general and 23 U.S. citizens from so-called “acts of terrorism and human rights abuses.”
The announcement comes as talks in Vienna to suspend the 2015 Iran nuclear deal between Iran and the superpowers have been suspended for nearly a month.
Retired U.S. General Joseph Vottel, who headed the U.S. Central Command, which covers the Middle East, was one of 24 Americans allowed. Other former U.S. Treasury and military officials, ambassadors and business leaders are also on the list.
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The Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that they were allowed to “engage in acts of terrorism, glorify and support terrorism and commit gross human rights abuses.”
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal allowed the lifting of sanctions on Iran, which, in exchange for sanctions on its nuclear program, denied what it always wanted to ensure that Tehran could not develop nuclear weapons.
But in 2018, the United States unilaterally pulled out of the deal and re-imposed severe sanctions, prompting Iran to drop its own commitment the following year.
U.S. sanctions, including “lack of access to medicines and medical equipment and services, especially in the wake of the Covid 19 epidemic, have put the lives of millions of Iranians at risk,” the ministry said.
The Vienna talks, which began about a year ago, are more indirect than the United States between Iran on the one hand and France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and China on the other.
But talks broke down on March 11 after Russia demanded assurances that Western sanctions imposed following its occupation of Ukraine would not harm its trade with Iran.
A few days later, Moscow said it had received the necessary guarantees, but the position continued as Tehran and Washington blamed the reasons for the delay.