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Iran hits Trump with last-minute sanctions

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 20, 2020 US President Donald Trump looks down during an event on lowering prescription drug prices in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. – President Donald Trump came his closest yet to admitting election defeat on November 23, 2020 after the government agency meant to ease Joe Biden’s transition into the White House said it was finally lifting its unprecedented block on assistance. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Iran on Tuesday imposed sanctions on outgoing US President Donald Trump and several of his top aides and advisers who took part in his “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic republic.

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Sanctions issued on Tuesday evening — hours before Trump leaves office on Wednesday — include a travel ban as well as a freeze on financial assets they may hold in Iran.

They were issued under a 2017 law titled “Combating Human Rights Violations, American Adventurism and Terrorist Actions in the Region,” according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

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As well as Trump, the sanctions target Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and former Pentagon chief Mark Esper.

Also on the list are ex-CIA director Gina Haspel, Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, as well as Brian Hook, once Washington’s administration’s pointman on Iran policy, and his successor, Elliott Abrams.

Given the arsenal of US sanctions targeting the Islamic republic and the repeated anti-Iranian invectives by the outgoing US president and those listed with him, it is unlikely any either hold assets in Iran — or that they intend to visit.

Iran and the United States cut diplomatic relations in 1980.

But decades old US-Iranian tensions escalated after Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement in 2018 and reimposed, then toughened, sanctions that have hammered Iran’s economy.

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