USA places new sanctions on Iran following rocket launch

Iran Successfully Launched into Low Orbit Satellite Carrier Rocket

Iran inaugurated the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Semnan Province on Thursday, the first base in Southwest Asia for sending satellites into orbit, which has been described a "turning point" in the country's space activities.

The ballistic missiles sanctions, announced on Friday, target six Iranian subsidiaries of the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, which the U.S. treasury department says is "central" to Iran's ballistic missiles programme.

The two officials said that the Simorgh rocket likely exploded before it reached orbit. The "Simorgh" rocket is capable of carrying a satellite weighing 550 pounds (250 kilograms), Iran state television said.

Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal, only "calls upon" Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles "designed to be capable of" delivering nuclear weapons.

The US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions on six Iranian firms owned or controlled by the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group.

The sanctions freeze any assets the entities may have in the USA and prohibit Americans from doing business with them. "We consider that to be continued ballistic missile development".

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The nuclear deal does not cover Iran's ballistic missile programme.

The sanctions in that bill also target Iran's missile development programs as well as human rights abuses.

Tehran denies its missiles are created to carry nuclear warheads, as it has no intention to even seek nukes. "Rhetoric and actions from US show bad faith", Zarif added. "Iran is not and will not be developing nuclear weapons; so by definition can not develop anything created to be capable of delivering them", he tweeted.

Friday's announcement comes after the US Senate adopted another batch of sanctions against Iran, North Korea and Russian Federation, and amid rumors that the Trump administration is considering a review of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

During the 2016 presidential election campaign, the United States president promised to "rip up" the "worst deal ever made". And last week, the USA certified for a second time under Trump that Iran is in compliance.

On Thursday, U.S. Strategic Command, which monitors launches around the world, could only confirm a satellite was not deployed from the rocket.

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