USA takes action against Iranian, Chinese firms and individuals over missile programme

President Donald Trump waived nuclear sanctions on Iran, keeping in place the Iran nuclear deal he has derided, but added new sanctions relating to Iran's testing of ballistic missiles.

A statement by former United States president, Barack Obama, that Saudi Arabia would have to accept greater Iranian influence in the region as a result was also assumed to be a major policy shift for the U.S. But with the election of Donald Trump as president, this new power balance is under threat.

"The Trump administration also has targeted Chinese national OFAC designated Chinese national Ruan Runling and three associated Chinese companies for proliferation activities in support of a key designated Iranian defense entity", according to the Treasury Department.

The new sanctions designate seven entities, including two top Iranian defence officials and a China-based network supplying material to Iran's missile programme.

While the Trump administration continues to waive certain sanctions on Iran as required under the nuclear agreement, officials said the administration would not back down from imposing new sanctions, such as those announced Wednesday.

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

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal characterized the planned trip as part of an ongoing effort to encourage traditional USA allies to develop a multilateral plan for fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant while also pushing back against Iran, which has a hand in a number of regional conflicts and terrorist activities. "Iran continues to pursue missile-related technologies capable of delivering a nuclear weapon", Jones said.

Mr Trump, who has called the deal the worst in history, is also due to visit Saudi Arabia, Iran's traditional enemy, on the very day of the election.

The French companies do not have manufacturing or sales operations in the United States.

Richard Nephew, a former United States negotiator with Iran now at Columbia University, called the renewal an "important step" in maintaining the deal but said it was still threatened by "congressional pressure, Republican politics, and the views of many people" in the Trump administration. On the one hand there's Rouhani who is trying to convince voters and reassure the worldwide community that the continuation of moderate government in Iran for the next four years will result in more integration of Iran in the global system and improve Iran's economy.

The agreement must be renewed every 120 days, or about every four months.

"The State Department will continue to partner with our colleagues at the Department of the Treasury to ensure our national security in the face of Iranian threats".

The moves come as Iran prepares for a presidential vote on Friday whose outcome has major implications for Iran's future stance toward the USA and its likelihood of sticking with the deal.

  • Zachary Reyes