The US Treasury Department on February 3 imposed fresh sanctions on Iran following a tweet earlier in the day from President Donald Trump in which he warned Tehran that it was “playing with fire”.
Trump’s comment and the Treasury announcement of new sanctions against 13 individuals and 12 entities follows Iran’s test-firing of a medium-range ballistic missile on January 29, which sparked a February 2 tweet from the president in which he wrote: “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile”. The sanctions also reflect displeasure in Washington over Iran’s regional ambitions in Yemen and Syria.
The imposition of the sanctions will add to the nervousness being felt by the many international investors who have piled into post-sanctions Iran in the wake of the nuclear deal. Trump’s stance on Iran could threaten many deals including an $8bn order clinched by America’s Boeing to supply IranAir with an initial 80 aircraft. Total, Shell, Siemens, Lukoil, BASF and Daewoo Engineering and Construction are among the many big foreign names looking to push forward investments in the Islamic republic.
The Treasury Department said the list of individuals and entities facing restrictions either supported the missile programme, had links to terrorism or provided support for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. They include companies based in Tehran, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and China.
“This action reflects the United States’ commitment to enforcing sanctions on Iran with respect to its ballistic missile programme and destabilising activities in the region and is fully consistent with the United States’ commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [otherwise known as the JCPOA or the nuclear deal],” the statement said, referring to the 2015 nuclear accord Iran reached with the US and five other major world powers.
Ahead of the sanctions announcement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: "Iran unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people". He later added: "We will never use our weapons against anyone, except in self-defence."
On February 2, Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan reaffirmed to Tasnim News Agency that the missile test was not illegal as the missile in question is not designed to carry a nuclear payload.
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