USA to Impose New Sanctions on Iran Over Ballistic Missile Program

The Trump administration is reviewing policy on Iran, not only looking at Tehran's compliance with the nuclear deal but also its behavior in the region which Washington says undermines USA interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.

The officials also said the US would slap Tehran with new sanctions penalizing it for developing ballistic missiles and other activity.

The FM believes Tehran could even walk away from the agreement.

A majority of lawmakers passed a motion to prioritise legislation "to confront terrorist and adventurist actions by the United States in the region", the Mizan Online website reported.

But the administration has sought a way to thread the needle between not walking away from the deal - which would have potentially disastrous worldwide consequences - and holding Iran accountable for other behaviors, such as its support for militant groups in Lebanon and Yemen.

On a trip to Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia in May, Trump called on all nations to "isolate" Shiite Iran.

An official familiar with the internal discussions said "Trump had spent 55 minutes of the meeting telling them he did not want to" preserve the Iran deal.

The Donald Trump administration may not dump the Iran deal as the President had promised as a candidate but, in a move India will be tracking closely, it will enforce it more strictly and hold Teheran accountable for its "malign behaviour".

Stressing that the U.S. was not going soft on Iran, officials said Washington was expected to implement new sanctions that pertain to Iran's ballistic missile programme and fast boat programme.

The officials say the Trump administration is also extending Iran's relief from nuclear-related sanctions while a long-running review of Iran policy drags on. The United States must certify Iranian compliance with the deal every 90 days.

"This deal represents the same failed approach of the past", Tillerson said at the time.

"It doesn't mean there can't be. The possibilities for engagement.have always been open".

The deal does not address global concerns about Iran's non-nuclear activities, but also doesn't prevent the USA and others from punishing Iran for those activities.

The absence of communication is in sharp contrast with Zarif's dealings with former secretary of state John Kerry, with whom he negotiated the agreement. With the certification Monday, he stopped short of unraveling the agreement unilaterally. "The United States will continue to use sanctions to target those who lend support to Iran's destabilizing behavior and above all, the United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon".

Nonetheless, Trump's State Department in the spring certified Iran was in compliance. Iran is subject to worldwide inspections under the deal. "It has also been more than a decade since Robert Levinson disappeared from Iran's Kish Island".

Ms Nauert also accused Iran of supporting radical groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad "that threaten Israel and stability in the Middle East".

Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old Chinese-American researcher at Princeton University, was recently sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison.

He said he was willing to discuss Wang's case "on humanitarian grounds" but stressed that Iran's courts were independent of the government.

But he emphasized Iran's courts were independent.

A second administration official insisted that the agreement was being "inadequately enforced" and said the White House would be "taking steps to interpret the agreement more forcefully" while "trying to contain the threats" posed by Iran.

Iran is "unquestionably in default of the spirit of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action", that took effect in January 2016 after years of negotiations, the official said.

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  • Rogelio Lindsey