"It is alarming that individuals involved with Iran's missile program are assisting the brutal Assad regime, and we are taking action to curtail this behavior", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said of the new sanctions.
The administration of US President Donald Trump chose to stick by a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers yesterday and continue waiving sanctions related to its atomic activities. Under the 2015 nuclear agreement, the US lifted those sanctions. As president, he has altered his position, insisting that he is still studying the accord and hasn't made a final decision.
"As we continue to closely scrutinize Iran's commitment to the JCPOA and develop a comprehensive Iran policy, we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions", Jones said in a press release. This may be meant to "undercut the impression that Trump is softening on Iran", The Associated Press wrote.
During his fiery presidential election's campaign, Trump threatened to tear up the nuclear deal and launched a review of its terms.
He said Iran would retaliate by adding nine United States 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.
In Iran's presidential election on Friday, President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist cleric whose administration negotiated the nuclear deal, is battling a conservative challenger and trying to convince voters he can deliver on promises of 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".
Trump administration officials say the White House is carrying out a comprehensive review of USA policy on Iran, which is focused on what officials consider Tehran's expanding influence in the region.
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The moves come as Iran prepares for a presidential vote on Friday whose outcome has major implications for Iran's future stance toward the US and its likelihood of sticking with the deal.
The Treasury said it had added two Iranian defense officials and an Iranian business to its sanctions lists, accusing them of aiding the missile program or supplying explosives to Syria. The Syrian agency produces unconventional weapons, such as the chemical weapons Assad's forces used earlier this year.
While still participating in the deal technically, Trump also imposed new, narrower penalties against Iranian and Chinese entities for Iran's ballistic missile program. The same was done for Chinese national Ruan Runling and three associated businesses, along with the Iranian company Matin Sanat Nik Andishan.
The Iranian defence officials were Morteza Farasatpour and Rahim Ahmadi.
USA allies, including Germany, France and Britain, have urged the Trump administration against walking away from the deal, which lifted a raft of economic sanctions against Tehran in exchange for strict curbs on its nuclear program.
Iran's foreign ministry issued a statement saying that the country will continue its missile program in line with its "inalienable and legal right" to upgrade the country's defensive capabilities, the ministry's spokesman Bahram Ghasemi wrote on his Telegram channel May 18. Iran is buying 20 of the ATR 72-600 planes. During his tour of the Middle East, Trump will visit Saudi Arabia and Israel, two countries who are also very concerned about Iranian expansionism and terrorism.
Sherman, speaking at the Cato Institute a day before the Trump administration extended the waivers allowing sanctions relief under the nuclear deal, touted important safeguards included in the deal: intrusive monitoring, strict limitations on nuclear stockpiles and centrifuge production, and most importantly, according to Sherman, an extension on nuclear breakout time, or the amount of time it would take Iran to accumulate enough material for a nuclear weapon.
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