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February 3, 2017 1:11 pm

Two Days After Putting Iran ‘On Notice’ Over Hostile Behavior, Trump Administration Imposes New Sanctions Targeting Islamic Republic

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

The launch of an Iranian Emad intermediate-range ballistic missile. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The launch of an Iranian intermediate-range ballistic missile. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Two days after “officially putting Iran on notice” over its recent hostile behavior — including a ballistic missile test — the US government on Friday announced new sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic.

According to the Treasury Department, the fresh measure is aimed at 13 individuals and 12 entities “involved in procuring technology and/or materials to support Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as for acting for or on behalf of, or providing support to, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — Qods Force.”

“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 acting chief of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control — said in a statement. “Today’s action is part of Treasury’s ongoing efforts to counter Iranian malign activity abroad that is outside the scope of the JCPOA. We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behavior.”

Former State Department official Aaron David Miller told CNN that the Trump administration’s move was the “safest and most judicious course of action at this stage.”

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However, he added, the sanctions “are not going to put a major dent in Iran’s determined effort to continue its development of ballistic missile technology. The question really becomes what is the next Iranian move.”

Harry J. Kazianis — director of Defense Studies at the Washington, DC-based Center for the National Interest think tank — said in a statement, “President Trump’s quick action to punish the Iranian regime is a smart and well calibrated step to show Tehran that this administration will not allow, without serious consequences, the build-up of Iran’s other major military threat: dangerous missile systems that put America and its allies in harm’s way.”

“While the world has been rightly concerned over Tehran’s possible nuclear weapons capabilities, very little has been done to curb Iran’s growing missile arsenal,” he continued.

Earlier on Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Iran is playing with fire — they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also took to Twitter on Friday, saying, “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.”

In a follow-up tweet, Zarif said, “We will never use our weapons against anyone, except in self-defense. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement.”

On Thursday, as reported by The Algemeiner, Trump said “nothing is off the table” when it comes to potential US actions vis-à-vis Iran.

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