U.S. imposes fresh sanctions on Iran over missile tests

Netanyahu iran

The new sanctions do not relate to the terms of the nuclear deal, which Washington yesterday confirmed Iran is "technically" complying with, but the Treasury Department said the new sanctions will still target the "proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and supporters of such activity".

The Treasury Department on Tuesday blacklisted 18 individuals and entities for supporting Iran's military and Revolutionary Guards Corps, accusing them of trying to build ballistic missiles and steal USA computer software and of harassing US naval vessels.

The state department said it was blacklisting two groups linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard for their alleged role in developing ballistic missile technology.

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has certified, for the second time this year that the Iranian Regime is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

"It's very clear that Iran is serious about the nuclear deal and we believe the nuclear deal can lay the foundation".

By contrast, Zarif said during his years of negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal, he and former Secretary of State John Kerry "probably" spent more time with each other "than with anybody else".

During his campaign, President Donald Trump called it the "worst deal ever" and said he would tear it up.

Zarif insisted that Iran's missiles are only intended for self-defense and he sarcastically compared Iran's home-made missiles with the expensive arms that the United States is supplying its main rival in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, under a recently announced $110 billion arms deal.

Under U.S. law, the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days of Iran's compliance with the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).




International Atomic Energy Agency reports verifying Iran's compliance with the agreement show the country was holding up its part of the deal, Zarif said.

At an hourlong meeting last Wednesday, all of the president's major security advisers recommended he preserve the Iran deal for now.

On Monday, a senior administration official said that while the United States verified the conditions of the nuclear agreement has been met, the Iranian regime's non-nuclear behavior poses multiple threats to USA interests and foments instability in the region, actions that will likely lead to fresh sanctions. Instead, senior Trump administration officials sought to emphasize their deep concerns about Iran's non-nuclear behavior and vowed that those transgressions won't go unpunished.

"We receive contradictory signals", Zarif added. Iran is subject to global inspections under the deal. "It has also been more than a decade since Robert Levinson disappeared from Iran's Kish Island".

The statement also criticised Iran's support for the Syrian government and groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

Congress has been pushing for a new set of sanctions against Iran and its Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force responsible for recent ballistic-missile tests that angered Washington.

But the recertification came with a stern warning.

The nuclear deal was agreed in Vienna in July 2015 after long-lasting negotiations initiated by five major world powers, including China, France, Germany, Russia, the USA and Britain.

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