US Slaps Sanctions On Iran Over Ballistic Missiles, Terrorism

Wednesday, 19 Jul, 2017

The statement targeted 18 entities and individuals "supporting Iran's ballistic missile program and for supporting Iran's military procurement or Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as an Iran-based transnational criminal organization and associated persons".

"These sanctions target procurement of advanced military hardware, such as fast attack boats and unmanned aerial vehicles, and send a strong signal that the United States can not and will not tolerate Iran's provocative and destabilizing behavior", said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Trump's reservations about the nuclear deal held up the White House's announcement on compliance, a US official said. Instead, Tehran has argued that the USA hasn't lived up to its end of the bargain by pressing European allies not to do business with Iran.

Nonetheless, Trump's State Department in the spring certified Iran was in compliance.

Trump said during the 2016 presidential campaign he wanted to "rip up" the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump also argued the deal brokered by former President Barack Obama was a risky concession to Tehran, but half a year into his tenure he has not suspended it, only dubbing Iran "the main sponsor of terrorism".

Worldwide monitors and other signatories of the agreement have said that Iran is meeting its terms, giving the administration little room for maneuver in providing the assessment required by Congress every 90 days. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, concluded in December 2015, however, that Iran worked on the design of a missile-borne nuclear warhead until 2009.

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"He certainly has made very clear all along his great desire to fix the great flaws in the deal", a senior official said.

And for a few hours on Monday afternoon, it looked like the White House was going to tell Congress it could not certify Iran was complying, without saying Iran was in breach of the pact.

The administration is required to deliver quarterly reports on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and a senior administration official told reporters on a White House call Monday evening that Iran was "unquestionably in default of the spirit of the JCPOA" yet in compliance with the nuclear terms. Asked again whether the administration wants to see regime change, the official said, "We're looking for a change in the regime's behavior".

Read: Two Years Later, Where Does The Iran Deal Stand? .

Circling back to our previous coverage, it's worth emphasizing that there's no reason to believe Donald Trump has any idea what the Iran deal is or what it does, but the president is nevertheless sure he doesn't like it.

The Pentagon has also repeatedly voiced concern over a string of high-profile incidents in waters off Iran involving Iranian vessels.

Behind the scenes, advisers argued that there was no alternative but to recertify the deal for now because the past sanctions regime the United States had with European allies against Iran is no longer in place and unilateral sanctions are not as effective as multi-lateral ones.