US Announces New Sanctions Against Iran, Targeting Former Nuclear Scientists

24 Mars, 2019, 19:19 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • An Iranian flag in front the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna Austria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the caper last April, and said it was another reason President Trump should walk away from the Iran nuclear deal.

The United States imposed on Friday sanctions on scientists, technicians and companies affiliated with Iran's Organization for Defense Innovation and Research, which had been at the forefront of the country's former nuclear weapons program. Among those designated for sanctions was the Shahid Karimi group, which works on missile and explosives-related projects for the SPND, and four associated individuals, according to the US Treasury Department.

United States officials said today that several individuals who had been involved with that shuttered research program continue to do sensitive defense research for Iran's Organization of Defense Innovation and Research, better known by its Persian acronym SPND, and its subsidiaries. The new sanctions designations are intended in part to make SPND and its researchers "radioactive", to disincentivize younger Iranian researchers from working for SPND or affiliates, the U.S. officials said.

The officials targeted continue to work in Iran's defense sector and are part of a core group of experts who could reinstate the nuclear program.

As a result of the sanction, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities are blocked, and USA persons are generally prohibited from transacting with them.

"Anyone considering dealing with the Iranian defence industry in general, and SPND in particular, risks professional, personal, and financial isolation".

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Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that Tehran was determined to boost its defense capabilities despite mounting pressure from the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile program. The administration officials acknowledged that they are not known to be now involved in building nuclear weapons but called it "gravely concerning" that Iran is keeping together a team of experts with what one USA official called the "type of expertise it takes to develop a nuclear program".

Iran says its missile programme is purely defensive and has rejected the curbs on it demanded by the U.S.

The Trump administration slapped new sanctions on Iran on Friday, accusing it of keeping top nuclear scientists together as a team so they can forge ahead building nuclear weapons in the future.

Tehran says it has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 km (1,250 miles), which puts Israel and USA military bases in the region within reach.

Khamenei, a hard-liner who has the ultimate say on all major foreign and domestic policy in the Islamic Republic, said the European signatories of the deal had failed to maintain Iran's economic interests. "The Western countries have proved they can not be trusted", he said in the speech in the holy Shiite city of Mashhad.

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