Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Iran sanctions 9 American firms as countermeasure

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Thursday denounced the new series of sanctions imposed by the US on its ballistic missile programme, calling them illegal and unacceptable. The move came despite Trump's strong criticism of the agreement during the 2016 election campaign.

Additionally, the Treasury Department said the sanctions waiver "does not diminish the United States's resolve to continue countering Iran's destabilizing activity in the region..."

Ghasemi said Iran would retaliate by adding nine USA individuals and companies to its own sanctions list, accusing them of "clear violations of human rights" in relation to their support for Israel or "terrorist groups" in the Middle East.

"The announcement shows that the State Department, for the time being, will continue to abide by the JCPOA while still policing it aggressively just as had been the case under the Obama Administration", Ward said.

"There is no material difference between what Treasury has done today ... and missile designations that took place multiple times under the Obama administration", said Richard Nephew, a former member of the US-Iran nuclear-negotiating team.

The waiver Wednesday of sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program has been expected since last month, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared Iran to be in compliance with the 2015 agreement that relieves sanctions in exchange for rollbacks in Iran's nuclear program.

Prior to the latest round of sanctions, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif said the USA opponents of the JCPOA "try to cause tumultuous atmosphere and the aim behind escalation of sanctions is just to raise hue and cry".

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While both the US State Department and the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency report that Iran is compliant with the nuclear deal, evidence provided last month by the Iranian Resistance shows that the Regime has simply moved their base of operations to a secret site, resumed working on advanced centrifuges, and refused access to independent inspectors.

Trump as a candidate vowed to renegotiate or tear up the nuclear deal.

In Iran's presidential election on Friday, President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist cleric whose administration negotiated the nuclear deal, is battling a conservative challenger and trying to convince voters he can deliver on promises of economic growth.

Raisi has sought to portray the nuclear deal as an empty promise perpetrated by Iran's adversaries, calling it "a check the government has been unable to cash".

"These sanctions target Iranian officials as well as a China-based network that are providing support to Syria and supplying items to further Iran's ballistic weapons program". In a retaliation move, Iran added nine Americans and companies to its own list of 15 US companies for human rights violations and cooperation with Israel.

He said Iran would retaliate by adding nine American individuals and companies to its own sanctions list, accusing them of "clear violations of human rights" in relation to their support for Israel or for links to "terrorist groups" in the Middle East.

Since then his rhetoric against this particular agreement has softened, however, he has simultaneously hardened his stance against other non-nuclear issues his administration has with Iran and launched a government-wide review of the Iranian state's policies.

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