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Iran sanctions aide to former US national security adviser John Bolton

Richard Goldberg said it was a 'badge of honour' to be sanctioned by Tehran after he was accused of 'being actively involved in economic terrorism'
Richard Goldberg served as an aide to John Bolton before he was fired by the White House last September.
Richard Goldberg, who served as an aide to John Bolton, was sanctioned over 'being actively involved in economic terrorism against the interests of Iran's government and citizens' (C-Span/Screengrab)

Iran has imposed sanctions on a hawkish ex-aide to former US national security adviser John Bolton on the charge of "economic terrorism".

Richard Goldberg - now a senior member of The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington-based think tank - previously served as an expert in Bolton's National Security Council and was a key coordinator in the US's "maximum pressure campaign" against Tehran.

Iran sanctioned Goldberg on Sunday for "being actively involved in economic terrorism against the interests of Iran's government and citizens", state news agency IRNA reported, citing a statement from the foreign ministry.

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While the specific nature of the sanctions was not outlined, they were predicated on a 2017 law "confronting America's human rights violations and adventurist and terrorist acts in the region".

Goldberg responded to the sanctions on Twitter saying it was "a badge of honor" to be designated by Iran as "coordinating" Trump's maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic.

The FDD, where Goldberg now works, was blacklisted by Tehran last year for "economic terrorism".

It strongly opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that saw world powers lift sanctions against Tehran in return for placing limits on its nuclear programme.

Tensions between arch-foes Iran and the US have escalated since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear accord in 2018 and began reimposing sanctions against the Islamic republic.

On Friday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the US of trying to stir up anti-government protests by imposing sanctions he said were aimed at bankrupting the country.

"Their (the US) short-term goal was to make our people so fed up and tired that they would stand up against the [ruling] system," Khamenei said in a televised speech marking the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha.

In addition to US sanctions, Iran's economy has been hit hard by falling oil prices as well as the coronavirus pandemic - with the country having one of the highest Covid-19 death tolls in the Middle East.

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