The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program, one day after Tehran tested a satellite-launch rocket in what Washington denounced as a “provocative” act.
The US Treasury singled out six companies owned or controlled by Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which it said was central to country’s missile program, freezing their US assets and barring US citizens from dealing with them.
Foreign financial institutions could face punitive measures if they deal with the sanctioned entities, it added, according to Agence France Presse.
SHIG was already under UN, US and European Union sanctions.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions “underscore the United States’ deep concerns with Iran’s continued development and testing of ballistic missiles and other provocative behavior.”
He warned that Washington would “continue to aggressively counter Iran’s ballistic missile-related activity, whether it be a provocative space launch, its development of threatening ballistic missile systems, or likely support to Yemeni Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia such as occurred this past weekend.”
According to the Treasury, “space launch vehicles use technologies that are closely related to those of an intercontinental ballistic missile and this launch represents a threatening step by Iran.”
Iranian state television broadcast footage of the takeoff from the Imam Khomeini space center in Semnan province in the east of the country.
The report said the launch vehicle, named Simorgh after a bird in Iranian mythology, was capable of propelling a satellite weighing 250 kilograms to an altitude of 500 kilometers above earth.
After imposing the new sanctions, the US and three of its European allies urged Iran to halt all ballistic missile activity.
“We condemn this action,” read a joint statement by Britain, France, Germany and the United States, saying Thursday’s test was in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.
“Iran’s program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 and has a destabilizing impact in the region. We call on Iran not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities.”