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US ‘addiction to sanctions knows no bounds’ – Iranian foreign minister

US ‘addiction to sanctions knows no bounds’ – Iranian foreign minister
The “addiction” of Washington to sanctions “knows no bounds,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said. It comes after Washington slapped two top officials from major ally Turkey with restrictions.

“[The] US’ unlawful sanctions against two Turkish ministers – from an allied country – illustrates not just [the] US administration’s policy of pressure and extortion in lieu of statecraft, but that its addiction to sanctions knows no bounds,” Zarif tweeted.

In a heightening of tensions between the two allies, the US Treasury Department on Wednesday announced restrictions against Turkish Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu over the continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Brunson is being held by Turkey on charges of espionage and assisting the plotters of an unsuccessful 2016 military coup attempt. 

The US says Brunson is “a victim of unfair and unjust detention” by the Turkish government, adding that he was accused with “an absence of evidence.” US President Donald Trump has called the pastor “a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being.” 
The Treasury Department announced that “any property, or interest in property” of both Gul and Soylu within US jurisdiction is blocked and “US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.”

Brunson’s case has long been a stumbling block in already strained relations between Washington and Ankara. Days before the US Treasury announced its decision, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused his American counterpart of waging “psychological warfare” against Turkey over the pastor and warned that the US may lose “a strong and sincere ally.” 

Responding to the restrictions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted that they “won’t be left without retaliation.” 

US relations with Turkey have not been smooth in recent months. Among other things, Ankara and Washington are locking horns over Turkey’s decision to buy Russian S-400 missile systems. Erdogan’s government is also adamant on pushing ahead with the purchase of American F-35 jets, which US lawmakers are trying to block due to Ankara’s S-400 deal.

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