Trump Administration Announces New Iran Sanctions Targeting IRGC

The US government on Tuesday slapped sanctions on 18 Iranian entities and individuals linked to Iran's ballistic missile programme and other non-nuclear activities.

The U.S. Treasury Department is sanctioning seven groups and five people that aided Iran's military or its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp.

In making the certification, an official said, "the secretary of state and the president intend to emphasize that Iran remains one of the most risky threats to USA interests and to regional stability, and to highlight the range of malign activities".

The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was agreed to in 2015 following negotiations between Iran, the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany.

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"Iran should immediately release all of these USA citizens on humanitarian grounds", the State Department said.

The US has announced fresh sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile programme and what it says is Iran's support for terror organisations.

The U.S.is considering new sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile program as well as its "fast boat" program, in which Iran uses small vessels to harass U.S. Navy patrol boats in the Persian Gulf, the official said.

The U.S. has been at loggerheads with Iran for supporting the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and creating unrest in Yemen and elsewhere in the region.

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The Trump administration told Congress on Monday that while Iran has met the conditions necessary to be recertified as complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, it is violating "the spirit" of the pact through its destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.

Iran's top diplomat went on to criticize the U.S. and its allies over their refusal to take part in a United Nations organized summit aimed at banning the use of nuclear weapons. The decision on Monday was the second time his administration certified Iran's compliance and aides said a frustrated Trump had told his security team that he would not keep doing so indefinitely, the New York Times reported. And he returned to that theme often during the presidential race, describing the deal as "catastrophic", among other things.

"Iran is a serious partner for all these countries in fighting a common enemy because we believe at the end of the day. these extremist forces are as much a threat against us, but even more a threat against them", Zarif said.

"It took the United States longer to clear the purchase of Airbus airplanes than it took for the purchase of Boeing airplanes. And that narrow approach led us to overlook some of the broader, malign behaviors that the Iranian regime conducted, particularly in its region", the official said.

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"They are part of an ongoing campaign to hold Iran accountable for its misbehaviour in ways that don't touch the deal", said an official.

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