Tehran: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was hit with US sanctions after turning down an invitation to meet President Donald Trump, officials in the Islamic republic said on Sunday. The New Yorker magazine reported on Friday that Senator Rand Paul met Zarif in the US on July 15 and had Trump’s blessing when he extended an invitation to the Iranian minister to go to the White House. Officials in Iran confirmed the report on Sunday, heaping scorn on the Trump administration for claiming to want dialogue with Iran while slapping sanctions on its top diplomat. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”For a government to constantly claim (to favour) negotiations and afterwards sanction the foreign minister… if this is not ridiculous, then what is it?” said foreign ministry spokesman Ali Rabiei. “In a meeting with a senator, he (Zarif) is invited to come to a meeting and then he is sanctioned,” Rabiei said in remarks aired on state television. “We believe that these sanctions show that the politicians of the White House have to some extent made a personal issue of affairs,” he said, describing such behaviour as “childish”. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsOn Wednesday the United States imposed sanctions against Zarif, effectively slamming the door on Iran’s top diplomat. Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said the invitation and sanctions amounted to a failure of US diplomacy. “Imposing sanctions on the honourable foreign minister of Iran after the refusal of Trump’s proposal for face-to-face talks with him showed the ‘maximum pressure’ train has stopped at the ‘failure station’,” he said in a statement quoted by ISNA news agency. Tensions between arch-enemies Iran and the United States have soared this year after Washington stepped up its campaign of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic republic.