Iran vows retaliation against new USA sanctions

Iran nuclear facility enriched uranium yellowcake_3215523257680552

The Trump administration slapped 18 Iranian individuals and groups with sanctions Tuesday for aiding the country's non-nuclear weapons programs, in a bid to show that President Donald Trump is staying tough on Iran despite his moves to let the nuclear deal stay in place for now.

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has certified, for the second time this year that the Iranian Regime is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

"The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran's malign activities across the Middle East, which undermine regional stability, security, and prosperity", the State Department said in announcing the sanctions.

The US is required to certify the Iranian Regime's compliance with the deal.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin holds a press conference at the Treasury Department on July 13, 2017.

Although the 2015 agreement only covers Iran's nuclear program, administration officials accused Tehran of being "unquestionably in default of the spirit" of the deal because of its interference in neighboring countries, its human rights record and other activities, Reuters reported.

The sanctions "send a strong signal that the United States can not and will not tolerate Iran's provocative and destabilizing behavior", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

Sanctions consist of the freezing of accounts and the prohibition for Americans to enter into business relations with sanctions companies.

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THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported last week that the White House had chose to recertify Iranian compliance with the terms of the 2015 deal negotiated between the Obama administration and the Iranian government (cumbersomely known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA).

Iran continues to test and develop ballistic missiles in direct defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the spokesperson said.

The new sanctions, according to the representative of the White House, will be created to counter large-scale expansion of Iran's Armed Forces, as well as its operations in Syria and the Middle East in general. If it passes there, it will go to the president's desk. "And that narrow approach led us to overlook some of the broader, malign behaviors that the Iranian regime conducted, particularly in its region", the official said.

The Trump administration is reviewing policy on Iran, not only looking at Tehran's compliance with the nuclear deal but also its behavior in the region which Washington says undermines US interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.

AIPAC also urged Congress to pass expanded sanctions targeting Iran's missile capability.

Some of those targeted had supported the Iranian military or Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by developing drones, fast attack boats and other military equipment.

"Counting the Revolutionary Guards the same as terrorist groups and applying similar sanctions to the Revolutionary Guards is a big risk for America and its bases and forces deployed in the region", Maj. Administration officials on Monday said the Treasury Department was still reviewing a proposed sale of civilian airliners from Boeing to Iran's largest airline.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's missile power is defensive and is never negotiable at any level", he said.

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