WASHINGTON: The US slapped fresh sanctions on Iran Tuesday over its ballistic missile program, just hours after Washington admitted the Islamic Republic was complying with a landmark nuclear deal signed two years ago.
Iran’s parliament retaliated by voting for extra funding for the missile program, a move that speaker Ali Larijani said would show the Americans that Iran “will resist them with all its power.”
The heightened tensions came after President Donald Trump was forced to back off from a key campaign promise to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran, which eased sanctions in return for limiting its ability to produce material for atomic weapons.
Trump had described it as “the worst deal ever” and accused Iran of continuing to back terrorism in the Middle East. But on Monday the White House admitted that the Islamic Republic was sticking to the nukes agreement.
It noted, however, that while Iran might be meeting its requirements on paper, it was “unquestionably in default of the spirit” of the accord.
In announcing the new sanctions against 18 individuals and entities in Iran, the State Department said it “remains deeply concerned about Iran’s malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security, and prosperity.”
It cited Iran’s support for Hezbollah, Hamas, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Huthi rebels in Yemen fighting a US-backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia.
In addition to earmarking an additional $260 million for its ballistic missile program, Iran’s parliament also agreed Tuesday to allot a similar amount to the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations wing, the Quds Force, accused by Washington of fomenting unrest across the region.