High-ranking officials from former US president Donald Trump’s administration are also included on the sanctions list.

A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage during the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna on July 14, 2015.
A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage during the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna on July 14, 2015. (AFP)

Iran has imposed sanctions on 61 more Americans, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for backing an Iranian dissident group, Tehran said on Saturday as months of talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal remained at an impasse.

Others blacklisted by Iran's Foreign Ministry for voicing support for the exiled dissident group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) included Republican former president Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and former White House national security adviser John Bolton, Iranian state media reported.

The sanctions, issued against dozens of Americans in the past on various grounds, let Iranian authorities seize any assets they hold in Iran. 

The steps, announced as Democratic US President Joe Biden wrapped up his trip to the Middle East, appear largely symbolic given the likely absence of such assets.

Giuliani, Pompeo and Bolton, all Republicans, have been widely reported to have taken part in MEK events and voiced support for the group. Both Pompeo and Bolton served under Trump.

Iran imposed sanctions on 51 Americans in January and another 24 in April.

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'Iranophobia'

Separately, Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday accused the United States of using "Iranophobia" to create regional tension during President Joe Biden's visit to the Middle East, Iranian state media reported.

"The United States has once again sought to create tension and crisis in the region by appealing to the failed policy of Iranophobia," ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani was quoted by state media as saying in reaction to Biden's visit.

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Nuclear talks

Iran's indirect talks with the United States on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact began in November in Vienna and continued in Qatar in June. But the negotiations have faced a months-long impasse.

In 2018, Trump abandoned the deal, calling it too soft on Iran, and reimposed harsh US sanctions, spurring Tehran to breach nuclear limits in the pact.

Biden's administration pledged to support all Americans despite any disagreements over politics or policy.

"The United States will protect and defend its citizens. This includes those serving the United States now and those who formerly served," a State Department spokesperson said on Saturday. "We are united in our resolve against threats and provocations, and we will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran."

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies