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Iran: New US Sanctions on Missile Work Show 'Ill Will'

20 May 2017

He 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 new sanctions, added by the Treasure Department, target two senior Iranian officials and entities based in China and Iran that are supporting Iran's missile program.

While Trump criticised the nuclear agreement as a presidential candidate - at one point saying he would "dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran" - Wednesday's actions demonstrated that he has decided, at least for now, to keep it.

Finally, Iran-based Matin Sanat Nik Andishan, a company that has provided materials useful to Iran's liquid-fueled ballistic missile program, was listed for sanctions. The State Department communicated to the Congress that the U.S. continues to waive sanctions as required to continue implementing the USA sanctions-lifting commitments in the JCPOA.

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US President Donald Trump, on the campaign trail, suggested that if elected his Administration might take a very different path towards Iran and might do so very quickly upon taking office, he said. As president, he has altered his position, insisting that he is still studying the accord and hasn't made a final decision.

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..."

Iran holds a presidential election on Friday with President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist cleric whose administration reached the nuclear deal, battling a conservative challenger and trying to convince voters he can deliver economic growth.

"In renewing waivers of USA sanctions, the Trump administration has once again grudgingly acknowledged that Iran continues to abide by its obligations under the agreement". Better to have a plan to deal with Iran in place before Trump demands changes in the agreement that would force the Iranians to either limit their nuclear program or scuttle the deal.

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"If they don't renew the waivers they will have a big mess on their hands", Timothy O'Toole, a sanctions attorney at a USA law firm told Financial Times.

The statement further highlights Iran's legal right to developing its defense capabilities to preserve its sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity, adding that its missile program does not violate any of Iran's worldwide commitments and the 2231 resolution.

Stuart Jones, the top U.S. diplomat in charge of the Middle East, said the United States is still forming a "comprehensive Iran policy" that addresses Iran's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and Islamic terror groups in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

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.

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Information for this article was contributed by Josh Lederman of The Associated Press and by Carol Morello of The Washington Post.