"Financial institutions fear USA vengeance, which is why the financial channels created to facilitate transactions for humanitarian commodities have had no tangible results", said Iran's representative to the committee, which deals with human rights, in remarks published by Iran's semi-official Fars News agency.
"Today's actions will continue to allow for humanitarian transactions to support the Iranian people", he added.
"Since Trump failed to win United Nations support for his Iran strategy, he's going it alone & imposing sanctions that will "crush" humanitarian channels that have always been protected", Rep. Ted Deutch, Florida Democrat, tweeted following the announcement.
The new sanctions are expected to be announced on Thursday, the publication said.
Biden's running mate Kamala Harris, in a debate Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence, said the pullout from the accord has led to Iran building "what might end up being a significant nuclear arsenal". Iran's official press said Mr. Zarif was traveling to Beijing Friday for talks with senior Chinese officials, with expanding bilateral economic ties on the agenda.
"Today's action targets the Iranian regime and is not directed at the people of Iran".
Iran's oil exports, a key source of revenue for the OPEC member, have dropped to their lowest levels in decades earlier this year, but Thursday's move, experts have said, could hit the Islamic Republic's ability to secure humanitarian goods such as medicine. That effectively cuts them off from the worldwide financial system.
The banks account for virtually all of Iran's financial sector. 13902 for being owned or controlled by Eghtesad Novin Bank.
Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, said the new sanctions would compound Tehran's problems.
All of these institutions are subordinate to the Central Bank of Iran, sanctioned in September 2019 for supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terrorist organization.
Then the administration would blacklist roughly 14 banks in Iran that have so far escaped some USA restrictions, under authorities created to punish entities associated with terrorism, ballistic-missile development and human-rights abuses.
However, the US Treasury Department said in a statement that the prohibitions did not apply to transactions for the provision of agricultural commodities, food, medicine or medical devices to Iran.