Iran 'unmoved' by U.S. president's 'threats'

Those targeted by the Treasury Department sanctions include Iranian, Lebanese, Emirati and Chinese individuals and firms involved in procuring ballistic missile technology for Iran.

The new sanctions aren't directed at Iran's nuclear program and wouldn't directly affect the agreement forged under Obama's administration that eased restrictions in exchange for Iran's promise not to develop nuclear weapons, two people familiar with USA strategy said Thursday.

Some of the newly sanctioned groups are based in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and China.

Iran is to deploy missiles for a Revolutionary Guards exercise on Saturday in a show of defiance a day after the United States imposed sanctions over a ballistic missile test launch last weekend.

While there may be plans for a cap on military presence in the region, U.S. officials believe the Trump administration will continue to take a hard stand against Iran despite the deals signed between the two countries during the Obama administration.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) yields the briefing room podium to National Security Adviser Michael Flynn February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. "We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behavior". Tehran says it has not carried out any work on missiles specifically created to carry nuclear payloads.

Iran immediately hit back, lambasting the threats as coming from "an inexperienced person" and pledging to impose reciprocal measures.




Officials declined to say whether the military option was on the table, although Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood said: "The U.S. military has not changed its posture in response to the Iranian test missile launch" on Sunday.

A US State Department official told Reuters: "As standard policy, we do not preview sanction decisions before they are announced".

The more aggressive posture is a departure from the approach of former President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaSanders reopens Dem primary wounds USA sanctions Iran for ballistic missile launch Senate votes to repeal transparency rule for oil companies MORE, who sought closer ties with Tehran.

Writing on Twitter before unveiling the penalties, Mr Trump said: "Iran is playing with fire - they don't appreciate how "kind" President Obama was to them".

Trump declared in a tweet early on Friday.

One reason Mattis was on the outs with the Obama administration is that he supported tougher responses to Iranian mischief in the region. It is now under dispute whether or not Iran violated a United Nations Security resolution meant to bar the country from developing a ballistic missile arsenal.

"Iran continues to threaten the US friends and allies in the region", Flynn said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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