US preparing new sanctions over Iran’s missile program

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The US is reportedly preparing fresh sanctions on international companies and individuals over Iran’s missile program.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published a report saying that the potential sanctions would target a number of Iranian nationals and international companies over suspected involvement in Iran’s missile program.

US officials claim that in accordance with the July agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Treasury Department can impose sanctions on Iranian entities over suspicions of involvement in missile development.

On December 18, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif defended Iran’s right to carry out missile tests for defensive purposes, saying none of his country’s missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

“It’s our legitimate defense. These are not missiles that are designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads and, therefore, it is within our right to self-defense,” said Zarif in an interview published by The New Yorker.

The sanctions would stop US or foreign nationals from conducting business with the blacklisted entities.

Representatives and nuclear experts from Iran and the P5+1 group — the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — succeeded in finalizing the text of the JCPOA in the Austrian capital Vienna on July 14 after days of intense negotiations and all-nighters that capped around 23 months of talks between Iran and the six other countries. Under the JCPOA, limits are put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related economic and financial bans against the Islamic Republic.

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