News / Middle East

    Officials: US Preparing New Sanctions for Iran Missile Program

    FILE - A general view  shows the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman at an undisclosed position in the Mediterranean Sea.
    FILE - A general view shows the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman at an undisclosed position in the Mediterranean Sea.
    VOA News

    U.S. officials say the Treasury Department is preparing to levy new sanctions on a group of Iranians and companies in other countries connected with Iran's ballistic missile program.

    The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the planned move, said the sanctions will likely be formally announced this week and include about 12 people and companies in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.

    The sanctions would call on U.S. banks to freeze the assets of those on the list and bar individuals and companies in the U.S. from doing business with them, according to the Journal.

    Iran test-fired missiles in October and November.  The U.S. and France said the October launch violated a U.N. Security Council resolution banning Iranian development of a ballistic missile.  Iran rejected the allegations, saying the sanctions only applied to missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and that their missiles had no such capability.

    U.S. experts said the only purpose of the missile would be to deliver a nuclear warhead.

    "We've been looking for some time at options for additional actions related to Iran's ballistic missile program based on our continued concerns about its activities, including the October 10th launch," an Obama administration official said.  "We are considering various aspects related to additional designations, as well as evolving diplomatic work that is consistent with our national security interests."

    Deal violation

    Iran has warned that imposing new sanctions would be a violation of the nuclear agreement the country signed in July with the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.

    Under that deal, Iran is curbing its nuclear activity in response to allegations it was working on nuclear weapons, and in return will get relief from sanctions that have badly hurt its economy.  Those sanctions can be lifted once the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog certifies Iran has taken its required steps, including reducing its stockpile of enriched uranium and the number of centrifuges it has installed.

    Iran has long denied its nuclear program had any military dimension.

    Also Wednesday, the United States accused Iran of conducting a "highly provocative" missile test last week near an American aircraft carrier passing through international shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz.

    U.S. military officials said missiles launched Saturday passed within 1,500 meters of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. The officials, who spoke to Western media under condition of anonymity, said Iran's navy gave a radio announcement less than an hour before firing the missiles, telling ships to steer clear of the area.

    Several other vessels were in the area, including the destroyer USS Buckley, a French frigate and merchant ships.

    None of the missiles were fired at any of the ships, which did not need to take any evasive actions.

    "While most interactions between Iranian forces and the U.S. Navy are professional, safe and routine, this event was not and runs contrary to efforts to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime safety in the global commons," U.S. Central Command spokesman Kyle Raines said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

    The strategic Persian Gulf waterway, which sees nearly a third of all oil traded by sea pass through it, has been the scene of past confrontations between the U.S. and Iran, including a one-day naval battle in 1988.

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    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 01, 2016 1:00 PM
    The delay in the sanctions is likely due to a lack of political will on the part of our very weak administration. If it can't impose unilateral sanctions for violations of the missile development research program, how will it get Russia and China to agree to impose sanctions when Iran violates the nuclear weapons deal Obama signed?

    by: CDNborn from: Canada
    December 31, 2015 9:13 AM
    Let's do some math shall we: The USS Truman can do about 30+mph.
    Iran warned of rocket test 25 minutes ahead of test.

    The USS Truman could have been about 15 miles from the test when it was done.
    Yet the US claims the rocket was just less than a mile from the USS Truman.
    Which begs the question: Did the USS Truman even move an inch after the test fire notice was given?

    by: Xaaji Dhagax
    December 31, 2015 1:58 AM
    Poor America!

    by: Anonymous
    December 31, 2015 12:26 AM
    Actually the US has been provocative by stationing a military aircraft carrier in what is Iranian water territory, within a very close distance of the Iranian shore.

    by: Anonymous
    December 31, 2015 12:20 AM
    Seems like Saudi/Turkish dollars can buy corrupt politicians in the US more than expected.

    Perhaps the price of the politicians for sale has dropped since the supply has dramatically increased.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    December 31, 2015 12:03 AM
    It was a prefect pretext to attack and for once inflict real damage to Iran's military. The last time American action was initiated against Iran was when we sold Saddam Hussein poison gas he used against Iran in the war. That is how we knew he had it. We sold it to him.

    by: Alice from: Canada
    December 30, 2015 10:52 PM
    "...the only purpose of the missile would be to deliver a nuclear warhead." So what did the Obama administration expect? Iran's Ayatollahs expect to be allowed to deliver a nuclear missile attack on whomever they want including the US. In the Middle East politicians who are very polite and reasonable are seen as weak and gullible (John Kerry). Something Mr. Kerry has yet to learn.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    December 30, 2015 10:33 PM
    It is the USA which is trying to turn a normal military excercise into a crisis.
    Iran has every right to conduct its own war games.
    Stupid actions from Washington!

    by: Michael from: San Diego
    December 30, 2015 10:25 PM
    WHO BENEFITS FROM THE “AGREEMENT”?

    You might just ask yourself a question: Of all the countries at risk from the Iraqis potential nukes, which is the least at risk? Answer: the USA, followed by the "Big 5." So, why did they bother with an "agreement?" Why were negotiations only done by those countries least at risk? Why didn't they invite the countries most at risk to negotiate? Why, instead, were they only invited to buy arms?

    Answer, because the "agreement" was never about security. it was about making money. The countries most at risk voted "No" by arming themselves for the war this "agreement" was supposed to prevent. So, the industrial military complex of the "Big 6" will make billions, KFC will get to open in Iran and the actual settling of Iran's hash will occur later, after Obama is gone.

    by: George Douglas
    December 30, 2015 10:24 PM
    If we had a real president and a real man as commander-in-chief there would have been a cruise missile hit the launch site seconds later! We are the United States of America and we should take this kind of crap from some jerk water country that is controlled by a bearded old religious creep.
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