TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran imposed sanctions on the U.S. ambassador to Iraq on Friday, citing "terrorist” acts against its interests, in a tit-for-tat move after Washington blacklisted Tehran’s Baghdad envoy.
Matthew Tueller and two other U.S. diplomats in Iraq "have effectively engaged in organizing, financing, leading and committing terrorist acts against the interests of the government or citizens” of Iran, the foreign ministry said in a statement released on Twitter.
It also accused them of being involved in the assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike near Baghdad’s airport in January, "support for extremist and terrorist groups”, and implementing illegal U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The two other diplomats are Tueller’s deputy Steve Fagin and Rob Waller, head of U.S. consulate in Arbil, the capital of Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region.
"Anti-Iran moves won’t go unanswered,”
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh wrote on Twitter with the statement attached.
Washington on Thursday slapped new sanctions on five Iranian entities over what it claimed as "brazen attempts” to interfere with the November 3 U.S. election, with Tehran strongly denying the accusations.
The U.S. also separately blacklisted Tehran’s envoy to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi, describing him as a "close adviser” to General Soleimani.
In response, Masjedi told state media he was "pleased to hear the news” that the "terrorist and criminal regime of the United States has put me once more on the list of its unjust sanctions alongside 80 million Iranians.”
On Thursday, Iran summoned the ambassador of Switzerland, who represents U.S. interests in Tehran, to reject the "fabricated and clumsy” allegations of Tehran’s meddling in the U.S. elections.
U.S. authorities "have put forward a baseless claim on the verge of the country’s election so that they would advance their undemocratic and predefined scenario through shifting the blame,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have increased since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran and world powers and reimposed illegitimate sanctions.
General Soleimani is viewed by the world’s freedom-seeking people as the key figure in defeating Daesh, the world’s most notorious terrorist group, in the Middle East battles.