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Iran Accuses U.S. Of Trying To 'Poison Atmosphere' With 'Illegal' Sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused U.S. President Donald Trump's administration of trying to "poison the atmosphere" by imposing new sanctions on Tehran despite its adherence to the 2015 nuclear accord.

The U.S. administration announced sanctions against 18 individuals and entities connected with Iran's ballistic-missile program and other military activities on July 18, one day after certifying that Iran was complying with its nuclear deal with world powers.

"This unfortunately has become a bad habit for this administration," Zarif told reporters at the United Nations in New York. "The international community has read this very loud and clear and continues to deal with Iran without much attention to this theater."

While the White House acknowledged Iran is technically in compliance with the deal, it accused Tehran of breaching "the spirit" of the deal because it continues to test missiles that Washington claims can carry nuclear warheads.

Zarif called the new sanctions "illegal." In comments to CBS News, he contended that it is the United States that is violating "the spirit" of the 2015 deal, which imposed restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The deal does not require the United States to lift sanctions that are not related to Iran's nuclear activities.

"We will look at it and see whether it violates the letter of the deal. And we will act accordingly," Zarif said.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and CBS News