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US Treasury imposes sanctions on Iranian companies after rocket test

The US Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions on Iran over what it called Tehran’s “continued provocative actions,” including Thursday’s successful test of a satellite-launch rocket.

According to Press TV, the Treasury said in a statement the Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed the sanctions on Friday on six Iranian companies owned or controlled by Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group.

The Treasury Department called Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group “central” to Iran’s ballistic missiles program, which Tehran says is defensive.

On Thursday, Iran launched its domestically-manufactured Simorgh carrier, whose mission is to put Iranian satellites into the orbit.

According to Tasnim news agency, the launch was carried out from the Imam Khomeini Space Center. Simorgh, named after a bird in Iranian mythology, is capable of placing a satellite weighing up to 250 kilograms in an orbit of 500 kilometers.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday the sanctions are aimed at Iran’s ballistic missile activity, including what he called a “provocative space launch.”

“These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program, and underscore the United States’ deep concerns with Iran’s continued development and testing of ballistic missiles and other provocative behavior,” Mnuchin said.

On Thursday, the US State Department criticized the test, saying it appeared to be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

“We consider that to be continued ballistic missile development,” US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters. “We consider this to be provocative action.”

US State Department spokeswoman suggested that the launch could be a “violation of UN Security Council resolutions.”

The United States claims that Iran’s missile tests and rocket launches violate UN Resolution 2231, which was adopted in July 2015 to endorse the nuclear agreement.

Resolution 2231 calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

Tehran insists its missile tests and rocket launches do not breach any UN resolution because they are solely for defense purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

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