Iran announces new missile production line

Iran announces new missile production line
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Iran announced Saturday that it had started on a new missile production line, a move that comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Iranian state media announced the move days after the United States hit the country with new sanctions over its ballistic missile program, Reuters reported.

Iranian defense minister Hossein Dehghan said Saturday at a ceremony that the Sayyad 3 missile can reach an altitude of 16 miles and travel up to 74 miles.

The official said at a ceremony that the missile could target different types of aircraft such as fighter planes and helicopters, as well as cruise missiles, Reuters reported.

Dehghan said that a recent $110 billion weapons deal struck between the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia was "done with the goal of threatening Iran."

"We recently witnessed an immense purchase that some countries in the region paid as a ransom to America and they intend to bring weapons into the region, and this purchase was done with the goal of threatening Islamic Iran," he said.

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On Tuesday, the Trump administration unveiled a new round of sanctions targeting 16 individuals and entities in Iran for supporting “illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity,” according to a statement from the Treasury Department.

“This Administration will continue to aggressively target Iran's malign activity, including their ongoing state support of terrorism, ballistic missile program, and human rights abuses," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.

The sanctions, Mnuchin said, “send a strong signal that the United States cannot and will not tolerate Iran’s provocative and destabilizing behavior. We will continue to target the IRGC and pressure Iran to cease its ballistic missile program and malign activities in the region.”

On Monday, the Trump administration signaled that Iran was complying with the letter but defying the spirit of the Iran nuclear deal struck under the Obama administration. This marked the second time the Trump administration has certified Iran's compliance under the deal which Trump often criticized during the campaign.