WASHINGTON — Hours after recertifying the Iran nuclear deal President Donald Trump decried as a candidate, his administration slapped new sanctions on the country’s ballistic missile program.
“The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran’s malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security and prosperity,” Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement Tuesday.
The statement targeted 18 entities and individuals “supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program and for supporting Iran’s military procurement or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as an Iran-based transnational criminal organization and associated persons.” It listed among other transgressions Iran’s support of “terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad that threaten Israel and stability in the Middle East.”
The sanctions came a day after the Trump administration certified for the second time the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, though the president reportedly resisted. The United States must certify Iranian compliance with the deal every 90 days. During his campaign, Trump called the sanctions-relief-for-nuclear-rollback deal the worst he had ever seen.
Trump’s top security advisers persuaded him to recertify, noting that inspectors have confirmed that Iran is sticking to the terms of the deal even as it continues clashing with the United States and its allies in other spheres, and violates U.N. Security Council resolutions related to missile testing. Administration officials said in announcing the recertification that they would seek to better enforce the deal.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee hailed the new sanctions.
“Today’s sanctions against entities supporting #Iran’s military and missile program are an important step forward,” the lobby said on its Twitter feed.
AIPAC also urged Congress to pass expanded sanctions targeting Iran’s missile capability.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) July 18, 2017