Breaking News: US hits Iran with new economic sanctions

At least 16 individuals and entities targeted for backing ‘illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity’.

US says it is targeting Iran for allegedly contributing to regional tensions [AP File]

The US government has unveiled new economic sanctions against Iran, targeting at least 16 individuals and entities for supporting what it said was “illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity”.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the US treasury department said it is imposing the new sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile programme and for contributing to regional tensions.

Those sanctioned had backed Iran’s military or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by developing drones and military equipment, producing and maintaining boats, and procuring electronic components, the US said.

Others has also “orchestrated the theft of US and Western software programmes” sold to Iran’s government, the treasury department said.

READ MORE: Is Trump leading the US on a warpath with Iran?

The US state department had also designated two other Iranian organisations involved in Iran’s ballistic missile programme, according to the treasury department.

The news comes just a day after the US administration declared that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, while threatening more sanctions for breaching the “spirit” of the agreement.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, DC, said that those listed in the sanctions are now prohibited from using American banking system, and any assets they have in the US would be frozen.

“These are fairly minor, if you compare them to the sanctions lifted as part of the nuclear deal.”

But our correspondent said the new sanctions “all go back” to what President Donald Trump had promised during the 2016 campaign to take a hard line stand against Iran.

“The nuclear deal was a huge deal during the campaign,” Culhane said pointing to Trump’s promise to “rip it off or renegotiate” the agreement signed under the Obama administration.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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