U.S. imposes more sanctions on Iran in response to space launch

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the sanctions would be placed on subsidiaries of Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), a company it said is "responsible for the development and production of Iran's liquid-propellant ballistic missiles".

In its first mission, the base on Thursday successfully launched a space rocket called Simorgh, carrying the imaging satellite Tolou into space. The test, however, was not successful.

United Nations resolution 2231 says Iran is "called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles created to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology", according to the text of the agreement which went into effect days after the landmark Iran nuclear agreement that was engineered by the Obama administration.

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In a press release, the Treasury Department said the sanctions were in response to Iran's claimed launch of a Simorgh satellite on Thursday.

"These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile programme, and underscore the United States' deep concerns with Iran's continued development and testing of ballistic missiles and other provocative behaviour", Mr Mnuchin said. The US had intelligence that the launch was coming and it was not a surprise, according to the official. Officials from US Strategic Command are now claiming that the rocket failed, and might conceivably have blown up before it reached space.

The 2015 accord imposed restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

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Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Friday denied Tehran had missiles created to carry nuclear warheads.

The penalties reflect an attempt by President Donald Trump's administration to show it is staying tough on Iran even though he has yet to scrap the 2015 nuclear deal, despite threatening to do so as a candidate.

On the other hand, in order to launch an inspection at Iran's military facilities, the U.S. needs coordination with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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