US sanctions Iran for ballistic missile launch


The U.S. slapped new sanctions on Iran on Friday after the Trump administration signaled it wanted to punish Tehran for its latest ballistic missile test. 

The Treasury Department announced that 13 people and 12 companies face new restrictions, including several entities that support the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and help the Iranian government procure materials for its missile program. 

The individuals and companies — based in Iran, China, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates — are banned from doing business with U.S. institutions or American citizens. 

{mosads}Foreign nationals who provide support for them could be subject to additional U.S. sanctions, a senior administration official said. 

President Trump and his top aides have said they won’t tolerate provocative acts like the missile test that occurred Sunday, calling it a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. The White House also included Iran on a list of nations whose citizens face a temporary ban on travel to the U.S. 

The more aggressive posture is a departure from the approach of former President Barack Obama, who sought closer ties with Tehran.

“Iran is playing with fire — they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.  

Two days earlier, national security adviser Michael Flynn made a rare appearance before the White House press corps to announce the administration is putting Iran “on notice.” 

The approach has been cheered by national security hawks and congressional Republicans who criticized Obama for taking what they said was too soft of an approach toward Iran. 

“This swift and decisive response proves that our new administration is serious about holding the Iranian regime accountable for its illicit behavior,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. 

Trump’s move also escalated tensions with Iran, which has said the missile tests are within their rights to conduct. 

“Iran unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people. We’ll never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter before the announcement. 

While Trump has taken a tougher rhetorical line against Iran, Friday’s sanctions are similar to penalties imposed by Obama in response to Iran’s previous ballistic missile tests. 

The decision to issue sanctions came after a review by the White House and agencies, officials said. While the Treasury Department has long researched new Iranian targets for sanctions, one official said “the launch of the missile was the triggering event.”

But the new punishments come after the Iran nuclear pact took effect last year, in which the U.S. and five nations lifted other sanctions related to the country’s nuclear program.

The Treasury Department said the fresh sanctions are “fully consistent with the United States’ commitments under the” nuclear agreement. 

The U.S. did not reimpose penalties against individuals or entities who had sanctions against them lifted as part of the nuclear deal, a senior administration official said. 

This story was updated at 11:35 a.m.

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