USA adds new sanctions on 18 Iranian groups, individuals

Posted July 19, 2017

However, the State Department today said "Iran's other malign activities are serving to undercut whatever positive contributions to regional and worldwide peace and security were meant to emerge" from the nuclear deal.

In May, the administration announced it would keep waiving nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but that it was imposing new sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its ballistic missile program.

The State Department said it's sanctioning two more groups associated with Iran's ballistic missile program.

The "malign activities" which the officials have reported as evidence of breaking the spirit of the deal included development of a ballistic missile programme, support of terrorist groups in the Middle East, support for the Assad Regime in Syria, hostility towards Israel and continued imprisonment of foreigners including United States citizens.

The administration was working on a "strategy that will address the totality" of Iran's actions, which will not be focussed narrowly on the implementation by Teheran of its end of the deal, a senior Trump administration official said Monday.

The deal does not address global concerns about Iran's non-nuclear activities, but also doesn't prevent the US and others from punishing Iran for those activities.

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President Donald Trump has in the past bashed the nuclear deal, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama, and he took office promising to re-evaluate or possibly kill the agreement.

Trump also argued the deal brokered by former President Barack Obama was a unsafe concession to Tehran, but half a year into his tenure he has not suspended it, only dubbing Iran "the main sponsor of terrorism".

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The briefing was held in accordance with U.S. law determining that State Department must report to Congress regarding Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal every 90-day period, with the previous report made in April 2017.

The latest attempt to clamp down on Iran's military financing ranged from an Iranian-based company that aided the country's drone program to a Turkey-based provider of naval equipment and a China-based network that helped secure electronics for Tehran.

"The secretary of state and the president intend to emphasize that Iran remains one of the most risky threats to USA interests and to regional security", a senior administration official said on a conference call.

However, the Trump administration critiqued Iran's non-nuclear activities, saying they are "unquestionably in default of the spirit" of the deal.

The White House last certified Iran's compliance with the terms of the deal in April.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a similar critique earlier this year when the U.S. certified the deal for the first time since President Donald Trump, a fierce critique of the deal.

"We receive contradictory signals", Zarif added. In any case, neither Tillerson nor anyone else in the administration seems seriously to believe in the Iran deal's merits and utility.

The president's team also reportedly emphasized the need to coordinate any USA action across the range of actors involved in the Iran deal, which is also signed by the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and Germany.

It cited Iran's support for Hezbollah, Hamas, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Huthi rebels in Yemen fighting a US-backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia. "It has also been more than a decade since Robert Levinson disappeared from Iran's Kish Island".