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Iran Condemns Sanctions, Says It Will Pursue Missile Program 'With Full Power'

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi

Iran has condemned new sanctions passed by the U.S. Congress over its missile program and vowed to continue it.

"We will continue with full power our missile program," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi was quoted as telling state-controlled television on July 29.

"We condemn the hostile and unacceptable action," he said of the sanctions.

Ghasemi said Tehran considers consider the action by the United States as “hostile, reprehensible, and unacceptable,” adding that “it’s ultimately an effort to weaken the nuclear deal.”

Under the 2015 nuclear agreement with the United States and other world powers, Iran has significantly limited its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

INFOGRAPHIC: Iran And Its Missiles (click to view)

Iran maintains that the missiles that it tests don't violate its nuclear agreement with world powers because they are for defensive purposes.

"The military and missile fields...are our domestic policies and others have no right to intervene or comment on them,” Ghasemi said.

"We reserve the right to reciprocate and make an adequate response to the U.S. actions," he added.

The sanctions bill, which also targets Russia and North Korea, was passed by the U.S. Senate late last week, after being approved by the House of Representatives.

The new legislation would impose mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic-missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure would designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization and enforce an arms embargo against Iran.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said that President Donald Trump will sign the bill into law.

Separately on July 28, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on six subsidiaries of an Iranian company that it said was "central" to Tehran's ballistic-missile program.

Treasury said the new U.S. sanctions announced were in response to Iran’s “continued provocative actions,” such as the July 27 rocket launch.

“The U.S. government will 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 Huthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on July 28.

Mnuchin said the sanctions “underscore the United States’ deep concerns with Iran’s continued development and testing of ballistic missiles and other provocative behavior.”

Also on July 28, Britain, France, and Germany joined the U.S. in condemning Iran's launch of a satellite-carrying rocket and warned that it runs counter to a UN resolution carrying out the 2015 nuclear deal.

In a joint statement, they urged Iran to stop developing missiles and rockets that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads and have "a destabilizing impact on the region."

With reporting by AFP and AP