The United States is preparing new sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran after the regime in Tehran conducted ballistic missile tests in violation of international sanctions.
U.S. officials said late Wednesday that the Treasury Department is readying sanctions against individual regime members and companies affiliated with the Ayatollah’s theocratic state. Sanctions will target almost twelve companies and people located in Iran, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to reports.
The move comes largely in response to two illegal ballistic missile tests carried out by the regime in October and November, which were followed this week by a missile test within close proximity to U.S. naval vessels.
The coming restrictions entail that U.S. or foreign nationals will be disallowed from engaging in financial transactions with the listed individuals and organizations.
Iranian ballistic missile tests are banned under UN Security Council resolution 1929, which was implemented in 2010.
A senior Obama administration official told CNN regarding the sanctions:
We are considering various aspects related to additional designations, as well as evolving diplomatic work that is consistent with our national security interests. As always, we keep Congress informed about issues related to Iran sanctions, and will continue to do so as we work through remaining issues.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman called the sanctions “illegal” and threatened the U.S. should Washington proceed.
“Such actions are unilateral, arbitrary and illegal and the Islamic Republic of Iran has warned the U.S. in this respect,” Iranian spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said, according to state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). “There is nothing to prevent Iran from pursuing its legitimate right of reinforcing its defense strength and national security,” he added.
The coming actions will represent the first new sanctions since Iran and world powers agreed to an accord that Western leaders hoped would curb the Mullahs’ nuclear ambitions. Iran has threatened that sanctions against its ballistic missile program would also result in the termination of the nuclear deal.
On Saturday, Iran conducted a “highly provocative” missile test in the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. officials said.
Iran “firing weapons so close to passing coalition ships and commercial traffic within an internationally recognized maritime traffic lane is unsafe, unprofessional and inconsistent with international maritime law,” said Cmdr. Kyle Raines of CENTCOM.