USA extends Iran nuclear deal sanctions relief, imposes new ballistic missile sanctions

President Obama tried to change the situation by offering to lift worldwide sanctions if Iran gave up its nuclear development.

While still participating in the deal technically, Trump also imposed new, narrower penalties against Iranian and Chinese entities for Iran's ballistic missile program.

U.S. -Iran relations have become more hostile than ever as the White House takes an aggressive posture toward Tehran over test-firing a ballistic missile that could raise tensions in the already chaotic region.

The US brands Iran a "state sponsor of terrorism".

The Trump administration said Wednesday, May 17, 2017, it will continue granting nuclear sanctions relief to Iran, keeping the Obama-era nuclear deal intact for now.

Despite these actions and President Donald Trump's campaign trail claims, the administration will continue to pursue former President Obama's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran Deal. The dual announcement of the sanction waivers and new measures could conceivably have some impact on voting intentions. It also comes ahead of a five-country trip for Trump, which includes stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel. Shiraz is controlled by the Iranian military, supplying it with missile guidance technology.

Cargo plane goes off runway at West Virginia airport
Kent Carper with the Kanawha County Commission says the plane hit the runway sideways and rolled 150 feet down the hill. Airport spokesman Mike Plante said the pilot and co-pilot died, CNN affiliate WCHS-TV in Charleston reported.

The designation of the seven Iranian and Chinese people and companies blocks any assets they might have in the United States and bars Americans and non-Americans from doing business with them, at the risk of being blacklisted by the US. The State Department also released its semi-annual report on human rights violations in Iran, as required by law.

The State Department informed lawmakers that it continues to closely monitor Iran's systematic human rights abuses, including the imprisonment and torture of dissidents.

Stuart Jones, the top United States diplomat in charge of the Middle East, said the USA is still forming a "comprehensive Iran policy" that addresses Iran's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and Islamic terror groups in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

Ruan Runling, a Chinese national, and three Chinese companies were sanctioned for their proliferation activities in support of a key designated Iranian defence entity, the Treasury statement said.

In a statement, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it has "designated two senior Iranian defense officials, including a defense official who facilitated the sale of explosives and provided other support to Syria and the director of the organization responsible for Iran's solid-fueled ballistic missile program" as targets for sanctions. As Al-Monitor first predicted May 14, however, the waiver was accompanied by harsh "foot stomping" meant to convey the message that Trump is determined to keep the pressure on Iran for non-nuclear-related malfeasance. That was a relief to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who made the 2015 nuclear deal the centerpiece of his efforts to end Iran's isolation and rebuild its economy with foreign investment.

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