US to issue new Iran sanctions as tensions continue

US to issue new Iran sanctions as tensions continue
Washington looks set to issue new sanctions on 12 people based on their alleged connections to Iran's ballistic missile programme, as relations between the two nations remain tense.
2 min read
31 December, 2015
Iran's ballistic missile arsenal is seen as a source of pride for the regime [AFP]

Nearly a dozen companies and individuals thought to be connected to Iran's ballistic missile programme will likely be hit with fresh sanctions by the United States, it has emerged.

Washington is preparing new sanctions on a number of companies based in Iran, Dubai and Hong Kong who reportedly have a role in developing the Islamic Republic's ballistic missiles, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Under the nuclear deal agreed between Iran, US and other world powers, Washington has the right to issue new sanctions on "Iranian entities" connected to missile development, human rights abuses or terrorism.

Iran and the US broke off relations in 1979 following the Islamic revolution and seizure of the US embassy in Tehran by students and Islamist activists.

This year's nuclear deal - to allow Iran to produce peaceful nuclear energy but limit its ability to create nuclear weapons - initially improved relations between the two countries.

However, conservative elements in the Iranian regime have continued to issue hostile statements against Washington, while Iran test-fired a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead in October, breaking UN laws.

Earlier this week, Iran also test fired a missile in the Straits of Hormuz which passed close to US warships and commercial traffic, which Washington described as "highly provocative".

Iran will take part in elections in February, which analysts predict could highlight a growing rift between moderates and conservatives inside the country.