Despite Continuing With Nuclear Deal, US Impose Heavy Sanctions on Iran

Published July 18th, 2017 - 06:57 GMT
Activist take part in a rally to commemorate the nuclear deal with Iran in front of the White House. (AFP)
Activist take part in a rally to commemorate the nuclear deal with Iran in front of the White House. (AFP)

The United States is imposing sanctions on 18 individuals and entities over their suspected support for Iran's ballistic missile programme and other military-related activities, the State Department said on Tuesday.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert accused Iran of testing and developing ballistic missiles "in direct defiance" of a UN Security Council resolution.

The US is "deeply" concerned about "Iran's malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security, and prosperity," including support for terrorist groups, the Syrian regime and Houthi rebels in Yemen, she said.

The new sanctions by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control were "in response to these continued Iranian threats," Nauert said.

Among the targets are two organizations linked to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, along with an Iran-based criminal organization and associated individuals.

Some of the targets were involved in missile programmes, other military procurement or support for the Revolutionary Guard.

The action followed Monday's certification by Washington that Tehran has met the terms of its 2015 nuclear agreement with the five UN veto powers plus Germany. But a senior administration official had said that Iran was "unquestionably in default of the spirit" of the deal.

US President Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of the agreement, which was meant to constrain Tehran's ability to make nuclear weapons for at least 15 years.

"The administration is continuing to conduct a full review of US policy toward Iran," Nauert said.

The United States is continuing to comply with its commitments under the nuclear agreement and continues to expect strict Iranian adherence, along with monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the State Department said.

"The United States will continue to use sanctions to target those who lend support to Iran's destabilizing behaviour and, above all, the United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon," Nauert said.

The sanctions statement included a call for Iran to release all "unjustly detained" US citizens.

Nauert criticized Iran's "egregious" human rights record and failure to combat human trafficking.

The new sanctions come with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif this week visiting the UN headquarters in New York. The Foreign Ministry in Tehran said last week that they expected meetings with US officials on the nuclear agreement.


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