US slaps fresh nuclear sanctions on Iran
WASHINGTON (AA): The U.S. on Friday issued new nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, blacklisting 31 entities and individuals for allegedly supporting Iran’s “nuclear proliferation-sensitive activities.”
All of those blacklisted are tied to the Iranian Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, or SPND, the State Department said in a statement announcing the new penalties.
“The United States strongly condemns Iran’s efforts to maintain its band of former nuclear weapons researchers, preserve their work, and continue sensitive procurement activities,” spokesman Robert Palladino said.
He further warned that additional Iranians who work for the country’s nuclear program risk being sanctioned.
Friday’s actions follow the U.S. decision to exit the historic 2015 nuclear accord world powers, including the U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany, the UK and the EU, agreed to with Iran.
President Donald Trump had long criticized the agreement before formally withdrawing in May 2018.
The deal granted Iran with sweeping relief from international sanctions in exchange for unprecedented curbs to and inspections of its nuclear program.
The body intended to verify Iran’s compliance with that pact has repeatedly and categorically stated Iran remains in compliance with the agreement. Washington has called on the other parties to the agreement to follow its lead in abandoning the agreement, but to date none have.
Moreover, close allies in Europe have worked to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, insisting it presents the best way to ensure Iran does not attain a nuclear weapon.
The European Union in February launched a payment mechanism intended to allow European firms to continue to do business allowed under the agreement, vexing the Trump administration.