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U.S. imposes sanctions on Iranian entities, individuals after missile test

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

02-04-2017 07:14 BJT

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Friday announced sanctions on multiple entities and individuals involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and providing support to a military force in Iran.

The move came days after Iran launched a ballistic missile test, which drew a stern warning from Washington.

The action reflects the United States' commitment to enforcing sanctions on Iran with respect to its ballistic missile program and "destabilizing" activities in the region, and is fully consistent with the United States' commitments under the nuclear deal with Iran, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.

The new move targets several networks and supporters of Iran's ballistic missile procurement, including a critical Iranian procurement agent and eight individuals and entities.

It also slapped sanctions on a key support network run by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and working with Hizballah, including IRGC-QF official Hasan Deghan Ebrahimi, his two associates, and several affiliated companies in Lebanon.

In addition, it designates Ali Sharifi, an individual providing procurement and other services on behalf of IRGC-QF.

As a result of Friday's action, all property and interests of those designated subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

"Iran's continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide, and to the United States," said Treasury Department official John Smith.

"We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behavior," Smith said.

As the U.S. unveiled the fresh sanctions on Iran, U.S. President Donald Trump also issued a warning to the Islamic Republic.

"Iran is playing with fire -- they don't appreciate how 'kind' President Obama was to them. Not me!" Trump tweeted.

The United States on Wednesday officially put Iran "on notice" over Tehran's recent missile launch and an attack against a Saudi Arabian vessel by Iran-Supported Houthi militants in Yemen.

These actions "underscore what should have been clear to the international community all along about Iran's destabilizing behavior across the Middle East," Michael Flynn, national security advisor to President Trump, said in a statement.

In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry on Thursday dismissed Flynn's remarks about Iran's recent missile test as "baseless."

"Iran's missile test does not contradict the UN Security Council Resolution 2231," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said.

The remarks by Flynn are "baseless and provocative," Qasemi said, adding that "none of the Iranian missiles has been designed for delivering nuclear weapons."

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