TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s ambassador to Britain slammed his US counterpart for seeking to scare British companies into ending trade ties with the Islamic Republic when Washington’s anti-Tehran sanctions return in place, saying this is sheer hypocrisy.

“Such threatening and bullying rhetoric on the part of a businessman, whose grandfather’s Johnson & Johnson (company) had been for years active in Iran even during the sanctions era, amounts to blatant hypocrisy,” Hamid Baeedinejad said on social media, according to Press TV.

Johnson had said in a tweet on October 22 that, “Companies have a choice: Do business with #Iran or with the US – you can’t do both. Sanctions come into effect Nov 4.”

The Iranian envoy to London, however, replied,  “It is not companies that must choose between the US and Iran; it is that the US can either abandon the JCPOA and violate international law–continuing to lose credibility–or return to the accord and uphold an international agreement, which itself has signed.”

Back in August, Johnson wrote an article in the Sunday Telegraph, where he called on the UK to side with Trump on Iran or risk "serious trade consequences" for UK businesses.

"America is turning up the pressure and we want the UK by our side. It is time to move on from the flawed 2015 deal," he wrote.

The comments came as the European Union has vowed to counter US President Donald Trump’s renewed sanctions on Iran, including by means of a new law to shield European companies from punitive measures.

On May 8, the US president pulled his country out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal that was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

Following the US exit, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.

Trump on August 6 signed an executive order re-imposing many sanctions on Iran, three months after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

He said the US policy is to levy “maximum economic pressure” on the country.

Trump also restated his opinion that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was a “horrible, one-sided deal”.