U.S. slaps sanctions on Iran entities after rocket launch

Iran Successfully Launched into Low Orbit Satellite Carrier Rocket

Iran Successfully Launched into Low Orbit Satellite Carrier Rocket

Iran's Imam Khomeini Space Center on Thursday successfully launched its domestically-manufactured Simorgh carrier, whose mission is to put Iranian satellites into the orbit.

The US Treasury singled out six companies owned or controlled by Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which it said was central to the Islamic republic's missile program, freezing their US assets and barring US citizens from dealing with them.

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.

In addition, foreign financial institutions that facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to, the entities designated today risk exposure to sanctions that could sever their access to the U.S. financial system or block their property and interests in property under the United States jurisdiction. Though the newly recertified deal limiting Iran's nuclear program doesn't explicitly bar the development of ballistic missiles, the us considers it a violation of the "spirit" of the deal, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday.

The move comes after the country launched a rocket Thursday potentially violating a United Nations resolution on weapons development.

The sanctions come as the Trump administration continues debating its Iran policy and whether to scrap the 2015 nuclear deal.

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the sanctions illustrate deep USA concerns about Iran's missile testing and other actions.

"Iran - unlike the U.S. - has complied in good faith with the letter and spirit of the JCPOA (nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)", Zarif said on his official Twitter account on Friday.

He added that it was an "absolute right" of the Islamic Republic to launch the satellite-carrying rocket into space, saying the move was in full conformity with the country's global commitments. Iranian official sources state that the rocket has reached orbit.

North Korea and Iran were slapped by sanctions over their respective nuclear development.

Iran's state media on Thursday claimed the launch was successful, but USA spy agencies quickly determined that assessment was more propaganda than fact.

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