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Iran says U.S. sanctions could lead to "permanent closure" of diplomacy

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Photo: Iranian Leader's Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iran's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the White House's new sanctions targeting the country's top leadership could lead to a "permanent closure of the road of diplomacy," the AP reports.

Why it matters: During a televised speech, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — regarded as a moderate who has previously been open to discussions with Washington — added that the sanctions show the U.S. is "afflicted by mental retardation." These comments could scuttle any "already-remote prospects" of additional talks between the two countries, per the New York Times.

Go deeper: How Trump and Tehran came to the brink of war