U.S. Hits Iran With New Sanctions After Missile Test

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and missile. Photo: Atta Kenara/AFP/Getty Images

Days after President Trump put Iran “on notice” for testing a ballistic missile last weekend, the U.S. has imposed new sanctions on 13 individuals and 12 entities “involved in procuring technology and/or materials to support Iran’s ballistic missile program,” the Treasury Department said in a statement Friday. The sanctions also target those connected to the Iran’s Quds Force, which the U.S. has designated a supporter of terrorism.

“Iran’s continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide and to the United States,” the Treasury’s acting sanctions chief John E. Smith said in a statement.

By focusing on Iran’s missile program and terrorist-supporting military groups, the U.S. believes the sanctions are not a violation of the 2015 United Nations nuclear deal, which prevents new nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. Tehran contends that any new sanctions related to its missile test last weekend are a violation of the nuclear deal.

In others sanctions news, new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made her first appearance in front of the U.N. Security Council Thursday and said the U.S. will continue to take a hard line on Russia until it withdraws from Crimea.

“The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea,” Haley said. “Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.”

The remarks were notable for how different they sounded from Trump’s comments on Russia. But according to CNN, the White House was aware of Haley’s comments and the National Security Council signed off on them.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to Haley Friday, saying “we have never indulged in excessive optimism” on the issue of sanctions. Regarding Haley’s accusation that Russia is escalating violence in eastern Ukraine and endangering the lives of thousands of civilians, Peskov said, “No doubt, we do not agree with such a formulation.”

U.S. Hits Iran with New Sanctions After Missile Test