US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed a Newsweek article that he says insinuated that the US is sanctioning food and medicine from Iran.
The article said that Pompeo said the Iranian regime needs to “listen to Washington or else its people will pay the price.”
“The leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat. They have to make a decision that they want to use their wealth to import medicine and not use their wealth to fund [Iran’s Quds Force commander] Qasem Soleimani’s travels around the Middle East, with causing death and destruction,” the article quoted Pompeo as saying.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted the article, stating that Pompeo was “threatening to starve Iranians.”
Pompeo responded on his official Twitter account, criticizing the article and reaffirming that the US never sanctioned food or medicine, or anything relating to humanitarian needs in Iran.
The Trump administration had announced on November 2 the re-imposition of all US. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
Both Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin had both said the sanctions will have exceptions for humanitarian purchases.
The US government has also agreed to let eight countries, including close allies South Korea and Japan, as well as India, keep buying Iranian oil after it re-imposes sanctions on Tehran.
“One hundred percent of the revenue that Iran receives from the sale of crude oil will be held in foreign accounts and can be used by Iran only for humanitarian trade or bilateral trade in non-sanctioned goods and services,” Pompeo had said.