According to a statement by the U.S. State Department, the decision was made after President Donald Trump signed an executive order on the 24th of June imposing sanctions on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Khamenei and the Supreme Leader’s Office, while authorizing sanctions on others associated with the Supreme Leader. As such, the United States decided to sanction the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who has acted on behalf of the Supreme Leader.
Despite international statements that claimed Zarif to be a moderate that does not represent the regime, Washington argued that Iran’s Foreign Ministry is not merely the diplomatic arm of the Islamic Republic but also a means of advancing many of the Supreme Leader’s destabilizing policies.
The State Department further insisted that the Iranian top diplomat and the Foreign Ministry he heads take their direction (directly) from the Supreme Leader and his office. The State Department statement, which was put forward by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reiterated that the only path forward is a comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of its threats. It underscored that until a new deal is adopted, the U.S. campaign of diplomatic isolation and maximum economic pressure (against Iran) will continue.