Iran Launches Blockade On US Goods

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (file photo).
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (file photo).
Votes to continue ‘Death to America’ campaign

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Iran announced over the weekend that it is beginning to implement a blockade of all U.S. goods into the country following an order by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has directed the country’s government to form an “economy of resistance.”

The order comes following a letter sent late last month by Khamenei to President Hassan Rouhani. Khamenei called the United States “hostile and disruptive” and directed leaders to cut off all further negotiations with America.

Iran’s trade and industrial ministry announced the blockade on Sunday in a statement carried by the country’s state-controlled media.

“We will implement the blockade on imports of American goods in a directive,” Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, the ministry’s leader, announced in a statement published by PressTV.

Iran is seeking to rely more on domestic production and will start “checking imports of U.S. made goods,” according to the report.

The blockade comes just weeks after the Obama administration began to lift longstanding economic sanctions on Iran as part of the recent nuclear agreement meant to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons program.

Multiple reports have indicated that both American and European companies are poised to try and reenter the Iranian marketplace after years of restrictions barring such economic activity.

Both the Coco-Cola and Pepsi beverage companies operate local bottling plants and distribution centers in Iran, according to PressTV. However, the manufacturers “say they have nothing to do with the American brands.”

When asked to comment Monday about the blockade, a State Department official declined.

“We’re not going to comment on every remark attributed to the Supreme Leader,” the official said.

Iran’s parliament voted on Monday to continue supporting “Death to America” rallies often held across the country every Friday.

“The martyr-nurturing nation of Iran is not at all prepared to abandon the slogan of ‘Death to America’ under the pretext of a nuclear agreement,” a group of parliament members said in a statement carried by multiple news outlets.

At least 192 of Iran’s 290 voting Parliament members backed the measure.

“Death to America” has become “a symbol of the Islamic republic and all struggling nations,” the supporters said.

Meanwhile, Khamenei has insisted that the United States fully terminate, rather than suspend, economic sanctions on Iran, a demand that runs counter to what was agreed upon in the nuclear deal.

The supreme leader has also insisted that any threat of new sanctions by the United States—even ones concerning human rights and Iran’s weapons programs—would constitute a violation of the deal.

“Any comments suggesting the sanctions structure will remain in place or [new] sanctions will be imposed, at any level and under any pretext, would be a violation of the JCPOA,” or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, according to Khamenei’s recent letter to Rouhani.

Iranian officials maintain that they are complying with the nuclear accord and moving forward with requirement to scale back the production of enriched uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon.