U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran

February 3, 2017

The U.S. imposed fresh sanctions on Iran as President Donald Trump shows to have been infuriated by Tehran’s missile program after warning the Islamic Republic that it is “playing with fire.”

In a statement on Friday, the Treasury Department published a list of 13 individuals and 12 entities facing new restrictions. The entities include companies based in Tehran, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and China.

The Trump administration has taken a hard line on Iran, banning its citizens from entering the U.S. and accusing the nation of interfering in the affairs of U.S. allies in the Middle East. Such an approach could satisfy hawks in Washington who were never comfortable with President Barack Obama’s tentative rapprochement with Iran.

“Iran is playing with fire -- they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!,” Trump tweeted early Friday.

“Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” Trump tweeted on Thursday, echoing his national security adviser’s comments a day earlier.

Ahead of the announcement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “Iran unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people.” He added later: “We will never use our weapons against anyone, except in self-defense. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement.”

Tensions between the two sides were already escalating before the missile tests. The missile tests didn’t contravene the nuclear accord signed in 2015 with six countries including the U.S. and Russia.

The new sanctions aren’t directed at Iran’s nuclear program and wouldn’t directly affect the agreement forged under Obama’s administration, two people familiar with U.S. strategy said Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

For its part, Iran has urged the U.S. not to overreact to the tests. Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan this week insisted the tests were part of Iran’s ongoing defense program and were not illegal, according to the Tasnim news agency.

(Source: staff and agencies)


 

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