The Trump administration on Friday imposed sanctions on 13 people and a dozen companies in response to Iran’s recent ballistic missile test, increasing pressure on Tehran without directly undercutting a landmark nuclear deal with the country.
Those targeted by the Treasury Department’s action include various agents, companies and associates involved in procuring ballistic missile technology for Iran. Iranians, Lebanese, Chinese and Emirati individuals and companies also are now blacklisted from doing any business in the United States or with American citizens.
“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,” John E. Smith, the Treasury Department’s acting sanctions chief, said in a statement.
“We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behaviour,” Smith said.
The move follows a war of words between Tehran and Washington which was expected, by some insiders, to lead to fresh sanctions.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, said earlier this week the administration was putting Iran “on notice” for Sunday’s missile test and for supporting Shia rebels in Yemen.
Trump himself followed up early Friday, warning via Twitter that “Iran is playing with fire” and that its leaders don’t appreciate “how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them.”
“Not me!” he added.
Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!
Trump has long been a vocal critic of the Iran nuclear deal, which the Obama administration helped put in place.
Iran’s foreign minister said Tehran is unmoved by U.S. threats.
“We derive security from our people,” Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter, responding to Trump’s remarks. ”We’ll never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defence.”
Zarif’s tweet included a two-minute video, apparently shot during an earlier event, in which he said the international community ignored Iran’s struggle to defend itself during its war with Iraq.
“We went to one country after another begging … for a single Scud missile,” he said.
“Now you want us to get a few dollars, to abandon defending our people?”
Iran unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people. We’ll never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense. pic.twitter.com/TxlSEL8rjj