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US imposes a new set of sanctions on Iran after its latest space launch

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United States government has decided to hit Iran with a new batch of sanctions, after the country decided to launch another rocket carrying communication satellites into orbit.

The ballistic missiles sanctions, announced on Friday, target six Iranian subsidiaries of the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, which the US treasury department says is “central” to Iran’s ballistic missiles program.

The same day Iran launched the rocket, its state television showed footage of the firing of the rocket, mounted on a launchpad, carrying pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The US said the rocket launch violated the UN Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal and obligated Iran to not undertake activities related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such technology. The resolution stops short of explicitly barring such activity.

In a joint statement on Friday, Britain, France and Germany joined the US in condemning the satellite-launch rocket test, saying it was in violation of the resolution.

“Iran’s program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 and has a destabilizing impact in the region,” the statement said. “We call on Iran not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities.”

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Western nations believe that the Iranian space program is a cover up for development of nuclear and ballistic missiles

The six entities being sanctioned contribute to Iran’s liquid propellant ballistic missiles, the US treasury department said, including development and manufacturing of engines, launchers, guide-and-control systems and ground support as well as the liquid propellant itself. The sanctions freeze any assets the entities may have in the US and prohibit Americans from doing business with them.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said he would sign a series of bills that will impose stiff financial sanctions on Russia for its support to Iran. The announcement comes after Congress this week overwhelmingly approved packages to punish Moscow for allegedly meddling in U.S. elections.

After Congress approved the sanctions, Moscow said it was reducing the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia in retaliation.

In a statement late Friday, White House spokesman said Trump had “reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it.”

The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. It also imposes financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

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