Iran hits back after U.S. adds more sanctions for missile test

Iran said the new U.S. sanctions violate the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and promised to retaliate.
By Doug G. Ware and Ed Adamczyk  |  Updated Feb. 3, 2017 at 4:11 PM
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Feb. 3 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump's administration imposed new economic sanctions against Iran on Friday -- punishment for a ballistic missile test this week that many consider a violation of a U.N. security resolution.

Fourteen people and 12 entities, described by the Treasury Department as "networks and supporters of Iran's ballistic missile procurement" and "five individuals and entities that are part of an Iran-based procurement network connected to Mabrooka Trading," were identified for the new sanctions.

They will have their assets blocked and U.S. citizens are barred from engaging in business with them.

Iran's missile test doesn't violate the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and Western powers, but critics say it violates U.N. Resolution 2231, which was passed a few days after the historic pact.

The Treasury Department imposed the sanctions after Iran acknowledged that it test-fired a ballistic missile on Sunday. The country insisted, however, that the test violated nothing because the missile was not capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Sunday's was the second test-firing of an Iranian missile since the resolution came into force and the first since Trump took office.

The new sanctions are also in response to continuous terrorist activity, NBC News reported, citing two unidentified U.S. government officials.

In response, Iran said Friday that the new U.S. sanctions are "illegal" and violate the nuclear deal. The government also promised to hit back.

"The Islamic Republic will proportionately and reciprocally confront any action that targets the Iranian people's interests," Iran's Foreign Ministry said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Earlier this week, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said the United States was "officially putting Iran on notice" due to the missile test.

Several days earlier, a bipartisan group of 20 senators sent a letter to Trump that said, "full enforcement of existing sanctions and the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program are necessary."

On Friday, the White House said Iran's missile test and the new sanctions are a clear signal that the 2015 nuclear agreement should never have been reached.

"Today's sanctions really represent a very, very strong stance against the actions that Iran has been taking, and make it very clear that the deal that they struck previously was not in the best interest of this country," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said. "President Trump is going to do everything he can to make sure that Iran is stayed in check."

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