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U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran for ballistic missile test

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Updated Jan. 17, 2016 at 1:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The United States has imposed new sanctions on Iranian companies and individuals for a ballistic missile test conducted in October that it says violated a United Nations ban.

In a statement, the Treasury Department said it placed sanctions on "11 entities and individuals involved in procurement on behalf of Iran's ballistic missile program" and "five Iranian individuals who have worked to procure ballistic missile components for Iran."

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The sanctions will prevent whomever is affected from participating in the U.S. banking system. Although the sanctions were originally intended to be announced in December, negotiations over a prisoner exchanged delayed the imposition of the Treasury Department's actions.

Iran conducted a precision-guided ballistic missile test capable of delivering a nuclear warhead in October in direct violation of a U.N. ban.

"Iran's ballistic missile program poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions," Adam J Szubin, U.S. acting under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said.

The sanctions come after the four American prisoners were released from detention in Iran: Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, U.S. Marine veteran Amir Hekmat, Idaho Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and businessman Nosratollah Khosrawi Roudsari -- who all hold dual U.S./Iranian citizenship.

On Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iran has completed the steps needed to implement the nuclear deal -- meaning all sanctions related to the nuclear negotiations would be lifted.

U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the result of the historic negotiations.

"After the nuclear deal was complete, the discussions between our governments escalated," Obama said on Sunday. "Yesterday, these families finally got the news they were waiting for."

"For decades, our differences with Iran meant our governments never spoke to each other. Ultimately that didn't advance U.S. interests," Obama added. "From President Roosevelt to Kennedy to Reagan, the U.S. has never been afraid to explore diplomacy with adversaries."

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