Despite being an "important figure" Washington excludes Zarif from its sanctions on Tehran News -

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has decided not to impose sanctions on Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, for the time being, a sign that Washington may leave the door open to diplomacy.

US Treasury Secretary Stephen Menuchin said on June 24 that Zarif would be blacklisted that week.

A Treasury Department spokesman was asked why Zarif had not been sanctioned so far, a senior Trump administration official told reporters on Wednesday
"We are certainly looking for different ways to impose additional sanctions on Tehran … Foreign Minister Zarif is an important figure, and we will inform you of the latest developments …
When we have other information. "

The two sources did not give Reuters specific reasons for the decision on Thursday, and one informed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had opposed Zarif's inclusion in the list "at the moment."

The State Department has yet to respond to a request to comment on the decision.

Zarif is expected to attend a ministerial meeting at the United Nations next week on sustainable development goals. To do so, the United States would have to grant him a visa, another sign that Washington was delaying sanctions at the moment.

The New York Times on July 4 quoted Zarif as saying in an e-mail that he had no property or bank accounts outside Iran. "So I have no personal problem with possible sanctions," he said.

Tehran calls for the release of its oil tanker

In another context, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi called on Britain to immediately release the giant oil tanker, seized by the Royal Marines last week on suspicion of violating European sanctions to transfer oil to Syria.

"This is a dangerous game with consequences," Moussaoui told the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRNA) news agency. "The legal pretexts for detention are not sound … the release of the tanker is in the interest of all countries … foreign powers must leave the region because Iran and other regional states are able to ensure the security of the region" . Iran has warned against retaliation if Britain does not release the tanker.

Britain said on Thursday that three Iranian ships had tried to intercept a British tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz, through which Middle East oil flows into the world, but retreated when confronted by a British warship. Iran has denied that its ships have done so.

"We commend the Royal Navy for ensuring freedom of navigation and we will continue to work with our allies to ensure that the Iranian regime does not disrupt maritime security and global trade," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet on Twitter.

(Reuters)

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