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Iran calls new U.S. sanctions bluff



Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif
Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif calls U.S. sanctions bluff.  Source: REUTERS

(dpa/NAN) The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Thursday denounced the new series of sanctions imposed by the U.S. on its ballistic missile programme, calling them illegal and unacceptable.

The ministry in a statement said Iran’s right to strengthen its military capabilities is not a violation of the country’s nuclear agreement with world powers.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department placed sanctions on Iran over concerns about its ballistic missile programme.

The new sanctions designate seven entities, including two top Iranian defence officials and a China-based network supplying material to Iran’s missile programme.

One of the Iranian defence officials was involved in explosives sales to Syria.

Iran contends the sanctions are a breach of a deal it reached in July 2015 with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, which permits Iran to use nuclear power for civilian purposes in return for dropping sanctions.

Iran is prohibited from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering a nuclear weapon, under UN Security Council resolution 2231.

The U.S. State Department said Wednesday that Trump’s administration is re-evaluating its relationship with Iran, including whether to remain in the nuclear deal, but is meanwhile taking action against Iran over human rights abuses, its missile programme and other areas of concern.

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