The Trump administration is slapping new sanctions on 18 Iranian individuals, groups and networks over non-nuclear behavior such as support for ballistic missiles development.
The move comes the day after the administration certified to Congress that Iran is technically complying with the nuclear deal and can continue enjoying nuclear sanctions relief.
The Treasury Department is targeting seven groups and five people that aided Iran’s military or its elite Revolutionary Guard. The sanctions also target what the U.S. says is a transnational criminal group based in Iran and three people associated with it.
The State Department is also targeting two more groups associated with Iran’s ballistic missiles program.
The sanctions freeze any assets the targets may have in the U.S. and prevent Americans from doing business with them.
One day earlier, the Trump administration told Congress for a second time Monday that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal and can keep enjoying sanctions relief.
During the campaign, Trump told the American Israel Political Action Committee: “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.” And he returned to that theme often during the presidential race, describing the deal as “catastrophic,” among other things.
In a shift from Trump’s previous threat to “rip up” the deal, officials said the administration was working with U.S. allies to try to fix the deal’s flaws, including the expiration of some nuclear restrictions after a decade or more.
The late-night announcement capped a day of frenzied, last-minute decision-making by the president, exposing deep and lingering divisions within his administration about how to deal with a top national security issue.
Since early last week, Trump’s administration had been prepared to make the certification, a quarterly requirement. Trump first told Congress in April that Iran was indeed complying. With no final decision on his broader Iran policy, the White House had planned to let the status quo stand for another three months.
Story by The Associated Press