Iran decries new United States sanctions on ballistic missile program

The United States has sanctioned two Iranian defence officials, an Iranian company, a Chinese individual and a group of Chinese firms due to their support for Iran's ballistic missile programme, according to a US Treasury Department statement on Wednesday.

"As we continue to closely scrutinise Iran's commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and develop a comprehensive Iran policy, we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions", Stuart Jones, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ambassador, said yesterday.

Every 90 days, the USA president must certify for Congress that Iran is fully compliant with the JCPOA to ensure that the economic sanctions can continue to be waivered. "At least as of now, it appears that drastically changing United States economic sanctions on Iran is taking a back-seat to domestic concerns", he said. In Iran, the nuclear deal is unpopular with some conservatives who say it has failed to deliver the economic benefits promised by Rouhani.

The Trump administration said Wednesday it will continue granting nuclear sanctions relief to Iran, keeping the Obama-era nuclear deal intact for now.

Jones said the US will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions.

Donald Trump had previously stated his doubts about the Iran nuclear deal.

The US is continuing to review whether it should continue honouring the nuclear deal.

The Department of the Treasury announced that it had designated seven entities in connection with the missile program, including two top Iranian defense officials.

China has close economic and diplomatic ties with Tehran, but was also instrumental in pushing through a landmark 2015 deal to curb Iran's nuclear program.

But in April, Mr Trump ordered a wider review of the nuclear deal, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Iran "remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods".

Iran's foreign ministry issued a statement saying that the country will continue its missile program in line with its "inalienable and legal right" to upgrade the country's defensive capabilities, the ministry's spokesman Bahram Ghasemi wrote on his Telegram channel May 18.

The decision came just before a Friday presidential election in Iran, in which moderate President Hassan Rouhani is fighting for a second term against hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who has called for a much tougher stance against the West.

He also predicted that the USA government would begin a fresh wave of sanctions against Tehran on bogus charges following Iran's presidential election.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its missile programme with power and authority based on its plans", he said.

"We reiterate our call that Iran remains one of the most underappreciated political risks in the oil market".

  • Zachary Reyes