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White House: More Time Needed on Iran Sanctions

FILE - This photo released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Oct. 11, 2015, claims to show the launching of an Emad long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile in an undisclosed location.

The Obama administration said Saturday that it needed more time before it could move to impose new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program.

“We have additional work that needs to be done before we would announce additional designations," deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in Hawaii, where President Barack Obama was on vacation.

Rhodes said the additional work the U.S. was undertaking was not based on pushback from Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday ordered his defense minister to expand Iran's missile program, in defiance of the threat of new U.S. sanctions.

U.S. officials say Iran has test-fired two ballistic missiles, one in October and one in November, since reaching an agreement in July with global powers on curbing its nuclear program.

A U.N. panel ruled last month that the October launch violated a Security Council resolution that bans Iran’s development of ballistic missile systems.