U.S. European allies on July 28 joined the United States 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.
Britain, France, and Germany in a joint statement with Washington urged Iran to stop developing missiles and rockets that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads and have "a destabilizing impact on the region."
The statement came after 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.
At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Iran was "breaking its obligation" to refrain from developing missiles that can carry nuclear warheads under the UN resolution implementing the nuclear deal that was passed in 2015.
"We can't trust them," she said. "Under this administration, the United States will not let Iran off the hook for behavior that threatens our interests and our allies... We will continue to impose consequences until Iran stops its provocations and complies fully with Security Council resolutions."
Iran maintains that the missiles and rockets that it tests don't violate its nuclear agreement with world powers because they are for defensive purposes and are not intended to carry nuclear weapons, which it has agreed not to develop in exchange for sanctions relief under the deal.
Treasury said the new U.S. sanctions announced on July 28 were in response to Iran’s “continued provocative actions” with the July 27 rocket launch.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the sanctions would be placed on subsidiaries of Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), a company it said is "responsible for the development and production of Iran’s liquid-propellant ballistic missiles.”
“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.
Mnuchin said the sanctions “underscore the United States’ deep concerns with Iran’s continued development and testing of ballistic missiles and other provocative behavior.”
The Treasury said that as a result of the action, “all property and interests in property of those designated today subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.”
The U.S. State Department and Pentagon have said the same type of technology used for the missile launch be can be used to develop long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and be converted to carry a nuclear warhead.
With reporting by AP and AFP