Iran has blasted fresh US bans over its defensive missile program, saying it will retaliate by adding nine American individuals and corporations to its sanctions list over their human rights violations.
In a Thursday statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the new US administration is seeking to undermine the “positive outcome” of the 2015 nuclear deal on the Iranian nuclear program by pressuring Tehran over “baseless accusations” in others areas than its nuclear program.
Iran “condemns the US government’s malintent in its attempts to reduce the positive effects of the implementation of that country’s commitments under the JCPOA by adding natural and legal individuals to the list of its transnational, unilateral and illegal sanctions.”
He was using an acronym to refer to the Iran deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
On Wednesday, the US Department of Treasury extended sanctions relief for Iran called for under the JCPOA. However, it imposed sanctions on two Iranian defense officials, an Iranian company and members of a China-based network for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to limit parts of its peaceful nuclear program in exchange for the removal of all nuclear-related sanctions imposed by the US.
The accord was negotiated under the administration of former US president, Barack Obama, but his predecessor Donald Trump has called the JCPOA “the worst deal ever.” Trump threatened to tear up the nuclear deal during his campaign and has launched a review of its terms.
The Foreign Ministry statement further said, the Islamic Republic considers the new restrictive measures “unacceptable and contrary to the tenets of the international law.”
In response, the statement added, “nine US individuals and corporations” are added to Iran’s sanctions list over their “confirmed role in blatant human rights violations.”
The banned US firms and individuals have directly and indirectly cooperated with Israel in its “crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories” or in the regime’s “terrorist acts,” according to the statement.
They have also supported Takfiri terrorism and crackdown on the popular movements in the Middle East or have had effective participation in actions against Iran’s national security, it added.
The statement further said an updated version of the blacklist would be released after going through legal proceedings and being approved by relevant officials.
The United States claims that Iran’s missile tests are in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which was adopted in July 2015 to endorse the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 states, the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.
Under the resolution, Iran is “called upon” not to undertake any activity related to missiles “designed to be capable of” delivering nuclear weapons. Iran says it is not involved in any such missile work and has no such warheads.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s statement further underlined Tehran’s resolve to continue its missile program, arguing that it does not run counter to the Islamic Republic’s international commitments.
‘US Blind Use of Bans Unhelpful’
Meanwhile, China also lodged a complaint with the United States after it imposed penalties on Iranian and Chinese figures.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing followed local rules and regulations and closely adhered to its responsibilities to the international community.
Beijing “is opposed to the blind use of unilateral sanctions particularly when it damages the interests of third parties. I think the sanctions are unhelpful in enhancing mutual trust and unhelpful for international efforts on this issue,” she told a daily news briefing.
She further expressed hope that “the US side can on the principle of mutual respect resolve non-proliferation issues through dialogue and communication.”
China has close economic and diplomatic ties with Tehran, playing an instrumental role in pushing through the landmark 2015 deal.