Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Iran decries new United States sanctions on ballistic missile program

The US imposed sanctions against officials of Iran and one Iranian company in connection with a programme to develop ballistic missiles in the country.

"Last month the Treasury Department imposed the first human rights-related sanctions designations against Iranian individuals and entities since December 2014, and we will continue to pursue initiatives around the world that uphold our core values of promoting and protecting human rights", said Jones.

Remaining, unilateral USA sanctions imposed over Iran's record on human rights, terrorism and ballistic missiles development has scared many would-be foreign investors seen as indispensable to reviving an economy stunted by many years of isolation.

But the summit could be overshadowed by a surprise attendee: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court and shunned by the United States for the past 10 years.

The State Department said Iran would continue to receive relief from decades-old economic measures punishing Tehran for its nuclear program.

The dual moves - ensuring old sanctions on Iran don't return while imposing new ones - appeared aimed at undercutting the impression that Trump's stance on Iran has softened since he took office. That's also when the Trump administration's review of its Iran policy will be complete, according to a timeline laid out by Secretary Tillerson in April.

The US has said it will continue to waive certain economic sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme while simultaneously implementing a new set of sanctions related to the country's ballistic missile programme and monitoring its human rights abuses. "And they were also at the table and they still support the deal".

The US Treasury added that two Iranian defense officials, an Iranian company, and members of a China-based network have been sanctioned for supporting the program. This could in turn limit the growth of North Korean missile capabilities while providing new reassurance to Iran's other adversaries, including Saudi Arabia.

In another attempt to ramp up pressure on Tehran, the State Department released a new report criticizing Iran for human-rights abuses, including its alleged mistreatment of prisoners.

Ahmadi is the director of Iran's Shahid Bakeri Industries Group, which is responsible for Iran's solid-fuel ballistic-missile program, the Treasury statement said. However, Washington also separately extended wider sanctions relief for Iran called for under the nuclear accord. Iran will hold is presidential election on Friday, May 19, and sees the incumbent moderate president Rouhani face off with a conservative hard-line challenger, Ebrahim Raisi. A spokesman for the administration explained that the agreement is undergoing a review and only when that's finished will "comprehensive Iran" policy be formulated.

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