HASH(0xbd8958)

AP source: US preparing new Iran sanctions over missile test

AP source: US preparing new Iran sanctions over missile test

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is preparing to levy new sanctions on Iran, U.S. officials say, in the first punitive action since the White House put Iran “on notice” after it test-fired a ballistic missile.

Up to two dozen Iranian individuals, companies and possibly government agencies could be penalized as part of the move, expected as early as Friday, said the officials and others with knowledge of the decision. The individuals weren’t authorized to discuss the unannounced sanctions publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The sanctions, coming in the first weeks of President Donald Trump’s term, reflect his administration’s desire to take a strong stance toward Iran from the start. Throughout his campaign, Trump accused the Obama administration of being insufficiently tough on Iran and vowed to crack down if elected.

The White House and the State Department declined to comment Thursday.

But Trump lashed out against the Islamic Republic in a Twitter post Friday morning, saying, “Iran is playing with fire — they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me.”

It was unclear exactly which entities would be sanctioned. Many sanctions on Iran that had been imposed in response to its nuclear program were lifted in the final years of the Obama administration as part of the nuclear deal the U.S. and world powers brokered. Some of those penalties could be re-imposed under separate sanction authorities unrelated to nuclear issues.

That prospect raises the possibility of a fresh confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, which has forcefully argued that it considers any new sanctions a violation of the nuclear deal. The U.S. has maintained that it retains the right to sanction Iran for other behaviour such as supporting terrorism.

“This is fully consistent with the Obama administration’s commitment to Congress that the nuclear deal does not preclude the use of non-nuclear sanctions,” said Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, which advocates for a hard-line U.S. position on Iran.

The impending sanctions come the same week that Trump and his aides issued cryptic warnings about potential retaliation against Tehran for testing a ballistic missile and for supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen known as the Houthis. The U.S. accuses Iran of arming and financing the rebels, who this week claimed a successful missile strike against a warship belonging to a Saudi-led coalition fighting to reinstall Yemen’s internationally recognized government. Iran denies arming the Houthis.

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” said Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

U.S. lawmakers from both parties have encouraged Trump not to let the missile test go unpunished. On Thursday, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee joined more than a dozen other lawmakers to urge Trump to act.

“Iranian leaders must feel sufficient pressure to cease deeply destabilizing activities,” the lawmakers wrote.

Iran has reacted angrily to the threats of retaliation. Ali-Akbar Velayati, foreign adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, predicted this week that “the U.S. will be the final loser.”

“It is not for the first time that a naive person from the U.S. poses threats to Iran,” Velayati said, according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.

And on Friday, Iran’s official news agency reported that U.S. wrestlers have been banned from participating in the Freestyle World Cup competition in the western city of Kermanshah. The report quotes Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying a special committee reviewed the case and: “Eventually the visit by the U.S. freestyle wrestling team was opposed.” The competition is scheduled for Feb. 16-17.

This decision marks the first action by Iran in response to Trump’s executive order banning visas for seven Muslim countries, including Iran. Earlier this week, Iran said it would take retaliatory decision in return.

Though Trump has long derided the nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, recently he has avoided repeating his campaign pledge to renegotiate it. Iran has insisted the deal won’t be re-opened, and the other world powers that negotiated it with the U.S. have little appetite for revising it.

The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, has stated that Iran’s ballistic missile testing doesn’t violate the nuclear deal itself. But as part of the final negotiations for that deal, Iran agreed to an eight-year extension of a U.N. ban on ballistic missile development.

The U.N. Security Council later endorsed the agreement, calling on Iran not to carry out such tests. But Iran has flouted the prohibition regularly in the past year-and-a-half, drawing sanctions from the U.S. but also diplomatic cover from Russia.

___

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman and Julie Pace contributed to this report.

Vivian Salama And Matthew Lee, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Langley Rotarians work for clinics in Kenya

Local Rotary Clubs are asking locals to think of others at Christmastime.

Looking Back: Dec. 14, 2017

The community’s history as recorded in the files of the Langley Advance

Throwback Thursday: December 14, 2017

Can you help us caption a photo from Langley’s past?

Giants invite fans to toss teddy bears at Langley game

The annual Teddy Bear Toss takes place at this Sunday’s home game in the LEC.

Langley Christmas Fun: a listing of holiday events, Dec. 14, 2017 edition

Langley events: LangleyAdvance.com/add-event or news@langleyadvance.com (subject: Christmas Fun).

VIDEO: Carollers bring festive sounds to Langley City most Fridays

Shoppers will once again be entertained by choirs, musicians and bands this month in McBurney Plaza.

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Update: Small fire near Maple Ridge tent city

Occurred outside camp Wednesday night

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15- to 19-year-olds, including one in Vernon

Military life gives way to chance as author

Retired Chilliwack officer pens book about life in Afghanistan

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Most Read