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

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

US President Donald Trump yesterday extended wide sanctions relief for Iran called for under a 2015 global nuclear deal even as he imposed the new penalties.

In retaliation for the new US sanctions, Iran said it had added nine American individuals and companies to its own list of 15 USA companies for alleged human rights violations and cooperation with Israel, its archenemy.

Some experts and congressional staffers dismissed the latest sanctions as largely cosmetic measures that would not have any concrete impact on the country's economy.

Referring to Iran as "the number one terrorist state", the US president said the Middle Eastern country supplies money and weapons to terrorist groups.

"This administration is committed to countering Iran's destabilising behaviour, such as Iran's development of ballistic missiles and support to the Assad regime", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

I can understand why the Trump administration might want to maintain the nuclear deal until it gets all its ducks in a row on Iran.

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. "And above all, the United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire nuclear weapons".

Iranian state media says four ATR 72-600s are being delivered, the first installment of a deal with the French manufacturer to purchase 20 passenger planes following the lifting of sanctions under the 2015 nuclear deal.

Trump administration officials say the White House is carrying out a comprehensive review of US policy on Iran, which is focused on what officials consider Tehran's expanding influence in the region.

The Trump administration won't seek to reduce Iran's crude sales "at this time" in keeping with its commitments under the nuclear deal, according to the announcement.

However, the US Treasury issued fresh sanctions against specific officials and a Chinese business with links to Iran's missile programme. It also designated China-based companies that it says are supplying Iran with "missile-applicable items" and an Iran-based company that allegedly supports the country's ballistic missile program.

Some of that technology employs components provided by three Chinese companies, which were also listed for sanctions. Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015, agreeing to significantly curb operations at its nuclear facilities in return for the lifting of worldwide oil and banking sanctions. The designations also make it illegal for US banks, companies or citizens to do do business with them.

Under the 2015 deal, the U.S. and other world powers eased economic sanctions after the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran took steps to pull its nuclear program back from the brink of weapons capability.

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