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Iran levies sanctions against Pompeo, Bolton and others as nuclear talks hit impasse

The sanctions, issued against scores of Americans, are largely symbolic due to a lack of assets held by Iran
Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton at the White House in Washington on 11 October 2018 (AFP/File photo)

Iran has imposed new sanctions on 61 Americans, including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, for backing an Iranian dissident group, as months of talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal are at an impasse.

Iran's foreign ministry announced the sanctions on Saturday. Others blacklisted over support for the exiled dissident group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) include former President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani and former White House national security adviser John Bolton, Iranian state media reported. 

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The sanctions, issued against dozens of Americans in the past on various grounds, let Iranian authorities seize any assets they hold in Iran, but the apparent absence of such assets means the steps will likely be symbolic. 

Giuliani, Pompeo and Bolton have been widely reported to have taken part in MEK events and voiced support for the group.

In January Iran imposed sanctions on 51 Americans, blacklisting 24 more in April. 

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, then-US President Trump unilaterally abandoned the deal, calling it too soft on Iran, and reimposed harsh US sanctions, spurring Tehran to breach nuclear limits in the pact as it looked to Europe for political support. 

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