US imposes fresh sanctions on Iran over missile programme

The US has announced fresh sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile programme and what it says is Iran's support for terror organisations

The US says Iran's missile tests are in defiance of UN resolutions
The US says Iran's missile tests are in defiance of UN resolutions

The United States has slapped fresh economic sanctions on Iran, designating 18 individuals and entities for supporting what it said were "illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity".

Heather Nauert, the state department spokeswoman, accused Iran on Tuesday 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 armed groups, the Syrian regime and Houthi rebels in Yemen, she said.

The move came a day after the Trump administration told the Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal signed two years ago with the US and other world powers, and as such would continue to be exempted from American sanctions.

However, the state department said "Iran's other malign activities are serving to undercut whatever positive contributions to regional and international peace and security were intended to emerge" from the nuclear deal.

"Iran continues to support terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad that threaten Israel and stability in the Middle East. Iran has maintained its steadfast support for the [Syrian] Assad regime, despite Assad's atrocities against his own people."

The US treasury department said those sanctioned had backed Iran's military or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by developing drones and military equipment, producing and maintaining boats, and procuring electronic components.

Iran's parliament retaliated by voting for extra funding for the missile programme and its foreign ministry, calling the sanctions against the predominantly Shia-Muslim country "one-sided and illegal", said it would impose its own sanctions against Americans. 

It added: "Iran will reciprocate and will impose sanctions on American individuals and entities who have acted against the Iranian people and other Muslim nations of the region."

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