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Iran, Trump Showdown Leads To New Sanctions

Iranian oil field

The U.S. Department of Treasury has slapped new sanctions on Iran, targeting 13 individuals and as many companies, in response to an Iranian ballistic missile test just days earlier.

The targeted sanctions do not represent a reversal of the 2015 nuclear deal reached with Iran, but blacklist Iranian citizens, including members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, two Lebanese, and one Chinese, among others. The targets are alleged to have been involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.

"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,” acting sanctions chief for the Treasury Department, John Smith, said in a statement.

Details on the apparent Iranian missile test have been scant. On Monday, a U.S. official said the test experienced a failed re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, but offered no other details.

U.S. officials said that the missile test was “inconsistent” with UN security council resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran says it has not violated the resolution and that its missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

On Wednesday, Iranian lawmakers signed a motion endorsing the bolstering of the country’s defense capabilities, the Fars news agency reported, as reported by AFP.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s only way to deter the enemy’s aggression is its missile power,” and is an “unavoidable necessity” for protecting national security, according to the motion.

Former President Barack Obama in December allowed sanctions to be extended against Iran for 10 years.

As foreign policy continues to be carried out via Twitter, U.S. President Donald Trump noted earlier on Friday that “Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!”

Iran responded in kind, also with an ‘official’ Tweet, insisting it would not accept “useless” American threats delivered by an “inexperienced person”.

From a policy perspective, this is largely a continuation, though the tone differs, and Senators from both parties on Thursday urged the White House to ensure “full enforcement of existing sanctions and the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran".

By Damir Kaletovic for Oilprice.com

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