TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned a recent series of US sanctions on Iranian individuals, saying such illegal and provocative measures could not hamper the country’s scientific growth.

In comments early Saturday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi dismissed as provocative and illegal the US government’s sanctions on several Iranian nationals and a company operating in the field of engineering and technology services.

On Friday, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated one Iranian entity and 10 Iranian individuals under the executive order “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.”

The US has accused Iranians of stealing valuable intellectual property and data from universities and a media company for private financial gain.

Elsewhere in his comments, the Iranian spokesperson said the US move lacks any justifiable reason and reveals the US ruling elite’s inherent hostility towards the Iranian nation.

“Indubitably, the US will not be able to use such ploys to stop or prevent Iranian people’s scientific progress,” the Foreign Ministry’s website quoted him as saying.

In comments in October 2016, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei cautioned against hostile schemes to hinder Iran’s scientific progress, and urged efforts to raise the country’s scientific rating instead of only attempting to prevent it from falling.

The Leader has on various occasion highlighted the role of science as a means of power and development, calling for efforts to maintain the pace of scientific growth in Iran despite enemy efforts to undermine it.