“Unfortunately, the current US officials are pursuing the failed path of the previous administration,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
Khatibzadeh said the US move reflects its “addiction to sanctions”.
The US Treasury Department on Friday sanctioned the four, claiming they were intelligence operatives behind a failed plot to kidnap New York-based Masih Alinejad.
The sanctions block all property of the four in the United States or in US control, and prohibit any transactions between them and US citizens. Other non-Americans who conduct certain transactions with the four could also be subjected to US sanctions, the department said, according to Reuters.
Iran at the time called the alleged plot “ridiculous and baseless.”
“Supporters and merchants of sanctions, who see their sanctions tool box empty due to Iran’s maximum resistance, are now resorting to Hollywood scenarios to keep the sanctions alive,” Khatibzadeh said.
“Washington must understand that it has no choice but to abandon its addiction to sanctions and respect Iran,” he added.
Back in July, the US Justice Department accused the four Iranians of planning to seize Alinejad from her $1.4 million mansion bought by the CIA and smuggle her to Iran.
The department claimed that Iranian agents researched possible ways to move her out of the United States, including hiring a “military-style” speedboat to whisk her from Manhattan and transfer her by sea to Venezuela.
Khatibzadeh categorically dismissed the US allegations at the time. “This new claim by the US government … is so baseless and ridiculous that it is not really worth answering,” he said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken alleged in a statement on Friday that Washington was aware of “ongoing Iranian interest in targeting other American citizens, including current and former US officials.”
The sanctions come amid a pause in the Vienna talks between envoys from Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — on a potential revival of the accord, formally the JCPOA, Press TV wrote.
Former US president Donald Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign.
Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 26 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories, and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.
President Biden says he wants to rejoin the deal, but he is showing an overriding propensity for maintaining some of the sanctions as a tool of pressure.
Tehran insists that all sanctions should first be removed in a verifiable manner before the Islamic Republic reverses its remedial measures.