The U.S. Treasury Department levied fresh sanctions against Iran despite a statement from President Trump that Tehran’s government was acting in compliance with the Nuclear deal they signed with the Obama Administration in 2015. These newest sanctions are directly related to Iran’s ballistic-missile program.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 16 entities and individuals for what it said was “engaging in support of illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity.”

The sanctions target seven entities and five individuals for supporting Iran’s military or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); also targeted: an Iran-based transnational criminal organization and three associated persons. Those targeted include a Chinese national, four Chinese companies, and a Turkish firm. Iran’s testing and development of ballistic missiles, the U.S. State Department said in a separate statement, is “in direct defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” which endorsed the nuclear agreement.

The State Departments’ statement included: The three networks designated today supported Iran’s military procurement or the IRGC through the development of unmanned aerial vehicles and military equipment for the IRGC, the production and maintenance of fast attack boats for the IRGC-Navy, or the procurement of electronic components for entities that support Iran’s military. 

The transnational criminal organization designated today, along with two Iranian businessmen and an associated entity, orchestrated the theft of U.S. and western software programs which, at times, were sold to the Government of Iran.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the actions “send a strong signal that the United States cannot and will not tolerate Iran’s provocative and destabilizing behavior.”

The move comes a day after Trump certified that Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement it signed with the U.S. and other world powers. Trump, as a presidential candidate, had called the deal “the worst” ever and had vowed to walk away from it. Under the law, the administration must inform Congress every 90 days whether Iran is still complying with the agreement, under which it agreed to freeze its nuclear program in return for the lifting of some international sanctions. This is the second time the Trump administration has certified that Iran is in compliance.

The message from the Trump administration seems to be that Iran is on notice, that even if they comply with the terms of the nuclear deal, that the US will not look the other way in other activities that the Iranians are conducting.

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Photo courtesy The White House