Iran sanctions 9 American firms as countermeasure

Jones said the U.S.is still forming a "comprehensive Iran policy, " alluding to President Donald Trump's assertion that he may tear up the deal after he finishes reviewing it.

According to the Treasure Department, those affected include two senior Iranian defence officials, one of whom allegedly helps to arm the dictator Bashar al-Assad and a China-based network, Ruan Running, that allegedly supports Iran's military by supplying millions of dollars' worth of missile production items. Better to have a plan to deal with Iran in place before Trump demands changes in the agreement that would force the Iranians to either limit their nuclear program or scuttle the deal.

Mark Dubowitz, an Iran expert and head of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which advocates for a tough US position on Iran, said the latest steps were part of a "much more comprehensive strategy to use all instruments of American power to roll back Iranian regional aggression" and to "rectify what the administration sees as a deeply flawed nuclear deal".

But in April, Mr Trump ordered a wider review of the nuclear deal, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Iran "remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods".

The deal doesn't prohibit the USA or other countries from imposing new sanctions on Iran for its missile program, terrorism or other reasons, although Tehran has threatened to pull out of the deal if the US and other countries do so. While Trump certainly views Iran with suspicion, it would much rather deal with Rouhani, who has been lauded as a "moderate" willing to deal with the West, than his conservative clerical challenger, Ebrahim Raisi. The move to extend the sanctions relief in the meantime was another indication Trump may be laying the groundwork to let the deal stand.

On Friday, Iranian voters will decide whether to give a second four-year term to incumbent Hassan Rouhani, whose negotiation on the nuclear deal was supposed to put him on a glide path to re-election.

Comments by Trump & Rosenstein Further Confuse Decision to Fire Comey
Rosenstein's highly-anticipated appearance came after a week of major developments that flowed from the Comey firing. During an interview with NBC News last week, Trump said, "Oh, I was going to fire regardless of recommendation".

Iran has insisted it was not working toward building nuclear weapons, and on Thursday reiterated its stance that its missile program is both legal and part of its right to self-defense.

The Trump Administration on Wednesday is planning to sanction seven targets, including two Iranian defense officials, for illegal development of ballistic missiles, while at the same time honoring the Obama Administration's nuclear deal with Iran and allowing foreign companies to do business with the Islamic there, USA media reported.

Qasemi, said Iran's ballistic missile program was not a breach of the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, Tehran underlined that it will not stop its missile program despite a new round of sanctions.

Jones' remarks accompanied the State Department's semi-annual report to Congress on sanctions targeting Iran's human rights abuses. His re-election would be welcomed by Europeans who desire more business dealings with Tehran and who likely would resist or ignore any US efforts to slap nuclear sanctions back on Iran.

On Thursday, Iran's Foreign Ministry said it has added nine American individuals and companies to its list of sanctions for sponsoring terrorism or action against Iran's national security as a retaliatory measure against the new United States embargoes.

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