“In effect, not only are the sanctions an alternative to war, but they are also a modern alternative to genocide and terrorism, and an example of a silent war,” Ali Rabiei told a news briefing in Tehran, Press TV reported.
The only difference between the two hostile courses of action is that by opting for sanctions, the US has rid itself of cumbersome international regulations that prohibit the killing of civilians during an act of war, and is instead pressuring people by restricting their financial resources as well as medical and food supplies, the government official pointed out.
Washington has replaced warfare with sanctions “as it thinks international law cannot protect people, who are the real victims of sanctions,” added Rabiei.
On Saturday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Washington was using sanctions because “they are an important alternative for world military conflicts.”
The Americans are "committing a mistake and at the same time trying to deceive people of the world," Rabiei added.
He also labeled Mnuchin’s remarks as “a key historic confession” and the first time Washington has explicitly equated sanctions with war.
American embargoes, the spokesperson noted, have come to target the Iranian nation in general, and more specifically the vulnerable, including the underprivileged and working class, pensioners, as well as patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
Despite claims of not pursuing conflict, Washington has posed a threat to international peace and security via such unfair measures, Rabiei said, casting doubt that the US general public would eventually realize the true essence of Washington's actions.
According to Rabiei, Mnuchin's words clearly reflected that American tactics are chiefly meant to undermine the psychological security and wellbeing of the Iranian nation.
He also cited US sanctions targeting Iran’s aviation and maritime industries as an instance of coordinated attempts to provoke Iranians, adding that the Islamic Republic had, well in advance, predicted Washington's plans to target companies that contribute to the flow of commodities inside and outside of the country.
The Islamic Republic is of the opinion, he said, that the US would not be able to sustain such policy for long.
Iranophobia campaign, a US tradition
Separately, the government spokesman responded to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent claims to implicate Iran in the rocket attacks targeting American interests in Iraq, as well as his threat of taking action against the Islamic Republic.
The Iranian official noted that the top US diplomat had failed to substantiate his allegations with any evidence. “They didn’t even name one witness,” he said.
He further stated that it was only natural for US facilities to come under attack at a time when Iraq was witnessing protests and when the whole Arab country was facing ambiguity caused by American interference.
Instead of portraying the Islamic Republic as an adversary, the US needs to review its own policies in Iraq, Rabiei said, adding that spreading Iranophobia had always been a Washington tradition.
“We are used to such saber-rattling,” the spokesman said, noting that regional nations were abundantly aware that Iran does not engage in any special operation in any country, and has not been a source of threat to them.
The official, however, warned that Tehran would deliver a “crushing and intensifying” response, should the United States take any act of aggression against Iran.