Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday condemned the US sanctions on 10 Iranians and an organisation and called the measures “illegal and provocative”.

Washington imposed sanctions on Iranians and an Iranian firm on Friday, all related to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for the massive theft of valuable data from hundreds of universities, private firms and government agencies worldwide.

The US’ “illegal and provocative” measures could not affect the country’s scientific growth, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was cited as saying by Xinhua news agency.

“The US move proves the country’s inherent hostility towards the Iranian nation,” he said.

Through the Treasury Department and the Justice Department, the US government established penalties on the suspected perpetrators of the cyber attack, through which 31.5 terabytes of sensitive data were appropriated from universities, US and UN agencies, as well as from private companies.

According to US authorities, the sanctions consisted of freezing all the suspects’ assets under US jurisdiction and banning them from doing business with Americans.

The organisation to be sanctioned was the Mabna Institute, which was supposedly subcontracted by the IRGC to carry out these cyber intrusions and committed the data theft for private profit.