Iran announced on Thursday it is preparing to implement sanctions on the American think tank, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) by soon releasing a list of blacklisted people related to the organization.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said that a list of people accused of working with FDD will be given to Iran’s judiciary branch to be added to the country’s sanctions list.
Mousavi added that the list consists of “people from different nationalities who have effective roles in the foundation’s measures against the Iranian people,” according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
The Iranian foreign ministry announced it had added FDD, a Washington-based research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy, and its director Mark Dubowitz, to its sanctions list on August 24.
In response, the FDD said that American law enforcement is taking a close look at Iran’s threats and that the organization is considering an internal review.
“Some think tanks have called for internal reviews of their own engagements with the Iranian government. We think that’s a good idea, especially as the Iranian foreign minister, whose ministry issued the threats against us, plans to come to New York in September for the UNGA,” an FDD spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to Al Arabiya.
Iran accuses FDD and Dubowitz of “seriously and actively trying to harm the Iranian people’s security and vital interests,” according to the statement posted on the Ministry of Justice’s website – alleging that FDD was “fabricating and spreading lies, encouraging, providing consultations, lobbying, and launching a smear campaign” against Iran.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran’s attempt to intimidate the FDD must be “be condemned by all freedom-loving people around the world,” adding in a tweet that “The US does not take these threats lightly, and will hold the regime and its ‘apparatuses’ to account.”
Continuing attempts by the regime in Iran to intimidate @FDD, an American think tank—a THINK TANK—must be condemned by all freedom-loving people around the world. The U.S. does not take these threats lightly, and will hold the regime and its “apparatuses” to account.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 29, 2019
The FDD’s Dubowitz thanked Pompeo for his support.
Thank you so much, Secretary Pompeo. We’re very grateful for your support and that of the entire government. It’s imperative that the regime understands the consequences of threatening Americans.— Mark Dubowitz (@mdubowitz) August 29, 2019
US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus also voiced support for FDD, tweeting that the sanction was “a threat” and that the “US takes the regime’s threats seriously.”
The outlaw regime in Iran issued a threat today against @FDD, an American think tank, and its CEO. The U.S. takes the regime’s threats seriously. We intend to hold Iran responsible for directly or indirectly compromising the safety of any American.— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) August 25, 2019
The US Treasury imposed new sanctions on Iran on Wednesday, targeting two networks it says evaded sanctions to benefit Iran’s government and military organizations. The sanctions are part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on the Iranian government, which include imposing penalties on Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
President Rouhani said Tuesday that Iran will not talk to the United States until it “bows down to the Iranian nation” and lifts all sanctions.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated since US President Donald Trump pulled the US from the 2015 nuclear deal and began re-imposing sanctions against Iran after Tehran continued to promote terrorism in the region. FDD opposed the Obama administration’s nuclear deal saying its key provisions sunset too quickly and that it granted Iran too much leverage to engage in nuclear blackmail.
Trump and Zarif both attended the recent G7 Summit in Biarritz, France. The two leaders did not meet.