Report: Trump ready to add sanctions on Iran because of missile testing


WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump reportedly is ready to add sanctions on Iranian entities to penalize Iran for its ballistic missile testing.

Reuters, quoting “sources familiar with the matter,” reported Thursday that Trump would take care not to violate the Iran nuclear deal reached by the Obama administration trading sanctions relief for Iran’s nuclear rollback.

Instead, the president would use executive orders issued by his predecessor, Barack Obama, to sanction about 25 Iranian entities for terrorism- and missile-related activities. The nuclear-related sanctions that were waived under the deal would be left untouched.

The announcement, which Reuters said would come Friday, represents an increment in increasing tensions between Trump, who promised that his administration would be tougher on Iran than Obama, and the Iranian regime.

Earlier Thursday, Trump in a Twitter post echoed the warning that his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had issued a day earlier because of Iran’s recent missile testing.

“Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile,” Trump said in one tweet, using all caps to cite Flynn’s language. “Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!”

Trump has derided the deal as a bad one, but has stopped short of saying he would scrap it.

In another tweet, Trump said: “Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion.”

In fact, the international sanctions regime that had cornered Iran was built through the Obama administration’s first-term diplomatic efforts, and the prospect of a nuclear deal was the incentive that the United States used to bring reluctant nations like China and Russia into the sanctions regime.

Iran thus far has earned several billion dollars because of the deal, and estimates vary as to how much it could accrue in the long run, with deal naysayers saying it could reach as much as $150 billion.

An Iranian official mocked Trump as “inexperienced” and said the missile tests would continue, although they apparently defy U.N. Security Council bans.

“This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, a foreign policy adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, according to NBC. “Iran is the strongest power in the region and has a lot of political, economic and military power.”

Velayati added: “America should be careful about making empty threats to Iran.”

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