- By Isaaq Ahmet
Only 24 hours after sanctions against Iran were lifted USA imposes new sanctions
After decades long economic sanctions and 2006’s crippling nuclear sanctions against Iran were all lifted yesterday as part of an international mutual deal, the US has imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian companies and individuals over a recent ballistic missile test.
The new sanctions prevent 11 entities and individuals linked to the missile programme from using the US banking system.
Four American-Iranians were also freed in a prisoner swap as part of the deal.
Among them was Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian whom President Obama described as “courageous”. A fifth American was freed separately.
Rezaian and two of the others freed flew to a US base in Germany via Geneva for medical evaluation.
Another, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, did not fly out with the others, US officials said. A fifth man, Matthew Trevithick, was freed in a separate process.
The US said it had offered clemency to seven Iranians being held in the US for sanctions violations.
Negotiations in December over the prisoner exchange delayed the US Treasury’s imposition of the latest sanctions.
They were only announced once the plane containing the former prisoners had left Iran, reports said.
They were triggered by Iran conducting a precision-guided ballistic missile test capable of delivering a nuclear warhead last October, violating a United Nations ban. Iran as part of the deal to lift the sanctions had also agreed to strict rules limiting the quantity and strength of it’s nuclear materials it uses for domestic power supply.
“Iran’s ballistic missile programme poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions,” said Adam J Szubin, US acting under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
Moments later, President Obama hailed the nuclear deal, which is being implemented following verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had restricted its sensitive nuclear activities.
“This is a good day because once again we’re seeing what’s possible with international diplomacy,” Obama said. “For decades, our differences meant our governments almost never spoke ultimately, that did not advance America’s interests.”
He said differences with Iran remained.
He defended a separate settlement at an international legal tribunal which will see the US repay Iran $400m (£280m) in funds frozen since 1981 plus a further $1.3bn in interest, saying there was no point “dragging this out”.
Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the nuclear deal opened a “new chapter” in the country’s relations with the world.
The deal has been welcomed by many governments, the UN and EU but disparaged by many US Republicans and Israel.