Sunday, 17 December, 2017

US Treasury sanctions Iranian companies after 'provocative' satellite launch

Simorgh rocket launched and tested at the Imam Khomeini Space Centre Iran in this handout OPINION: Washington's shortsightedness jeopardizes Iran nuke deal
Christy Curtis | 29 July, 2017, 00:14

The launch, developed by Imam Khomeini National Space Center, marked official inauguration of the space base.

According to Iranian state television, the rocket launched into space Thursday can carry a 550-pound payload.

"These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, and underscore the United States' deep concerns with Iran's continued development and testing of ballistic missiles and other provocative behaviour", Mnuchin said.

Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal, only "calls upon" Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles "designed to be capable of" delivering nuclear weapons.

The six Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group subsidiaries the ageny called "central" to the Iranian missile program, are responsible for a range of components to Iran's ballistic missile program, including the development of structural components, liquid-propellant, missile engines, guidance systems, research and ground control systems. SHIG is already under US, EU and United Nations sanctions.

"The U.S. government should abandon its continued hostile behavior and policies that show lack of faith towards the (nuclear deal)", said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi, quoted by the state news agency IRNA. There has been speculation that Tehran has kept close cooperation with Pyongyang over its missile and nuclear programs.

On Friday, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said his country is complying with the nuclear deal and suggested that the U.S. is not complying with the "letter and spirit" of the deal.

Iran has denied it has missiles created to carry nuclear warheads.

Friday's announcement comes after the US Senate adopted another batch of sanctions against Iran, North Korea and Russian Federation, and amid rumors that the Trump administration is considering a review of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. "Rhetoric and actions from USA show bad faith", Zarif added.

"Iran is not and will not be developing nuclear weapons; so by definition can not develop anything created to be capable of delivering them".

Iran's state media on Thursday claimed the launch was successful, but USA spy agencies quickly determined that assessment was more propaganda than fact. The U.S. Strategic Command, which monitors launches worldwide, confirmed that no satellite was deployed from the rocket.

Abbas Araqchi, Iran's deputy foreign minister, said the USA was "trying to sabotage the situation, to threaten or scare off foreign companies to invest in Iran".

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