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Trump Announces New Sanctions, Launches Review To ‘Aggressively Counter’ Iran

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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The Trump administration announced a round of new sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ballistic missile program and paramilitary force Tuesday — one day after certifying Iran’s technical compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

The U.S. Department of State and the Department of Treasury announced the sanctions simultaneously. State Department spokesman Heather Naurt explained that the new sanctions would target “18 entities and individuals supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program and for supporting Iran’s military procurement or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as an Iran-based transnational criminal organization and associated persons.”

Nauert also noted that the U.S. is undergoing an complete review of its regional strategy towards Iran, something President Donald Trump reportedly demanded in exchange for certifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal.

“During the course of this review, the United States will continue to aggressively counter Iran’s malign activities in the region,” Nauert declared, but conceded in the announcement that during the review the U.S. “will continue to comply with its commitments” under the nuclear agreement.

The Trump administration is deeply frustrated with continued Iran’s actions in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal, including its consistent ballistic missile tests and large-scale ongoing paramilitary activity in Iraq and Syria. White House senior officials described Iran as “unquestionably in default of the spirit” in a late Monday background briefing call and described the country as “one of the most dangerous threats to U.S. interests and to regional security.”

Trump is deeply skeptical of Iranian compliance with the spirit deal and nearly demurred on re-certifying it at the last minute Monday. The comprehensive review of the U.S. posture to Iran may include withdrawing from the nuclear deal, increased sanctions, and other mechanisms available to the U.S. to counter Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

“The United States will continue to use sanctions to target those who lend support to Iran’s destabilizing behavior and above all, the United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” the statement concluded.

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