As sanctions end over nuclear program, US socks Iran with new sanctions over missile testing

Middle East
on 36 Comments

Last week Iran met its commitments under the July nuclear agreement after filling the core of its heavy water nuclear reactor in Arak with cement, and over the weekend U.S. lifted sanctions in place since 2006 allowing Iran to reconnect to the global banking system. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called it a “golden page” in Iran’s history.

“An end of an era for Iranians” hails PRI’s The World, “who can begin to emerge from years of punishing economic sanctions that have kept Iran’s national economy locked out of the global financial system.”

BBC reports the effects of the lifting of the sanctions:

Iran can now return to the oil market, and is expected to start exporting an estimated 300,000 barrels per day immediately. This, in an already oversupplied market, will contribute to the falling price of petrol for consumers across the world.

Iran will also have access to more than $100bn (£70bn) of money that was frozen overseas. However, it can only spend about $30-50bn, as the rest is thought to be been locked into previous commitments.

The money may be used to import goods and services to renovate and modernise many of Iran’s economic sectors. Already, Tehran is in talks to buy Airbus passenger aircraft by the dozens. The lifting of banking sanctions also means Iran is reconnected to the world financial network.

Critics of the deal say Iran will have more money to buy arms and bankroll its client militias locked in wars in the region…..

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described the day the sanctions were lifted as a “golden page” in his country’s history and something that could transform its economy.

A prisoner exchange took place between the U.S. and Iran the same day, but no sooner than the plane carrying released prisoners had left the tarmac in Iran, the U.S. Department of Treasury slapped new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile testing last fall, breaking the spirit of the agreement with Iran.

On Sunday, the Treasury’s Press Center published Treasury Sanctions Those Involved in Ballistic Missile Procurement for Iran, targeting “11 individuals and entities responsible for supporting Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program.”

When the UN endorsed the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 (China, France, Russia, UK, US and Germany) they passed a resolution requiring Iran to refrain from testing missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons. Iran says their missile program is not designed to carry nuclear weapons, nor capable of carrying them.

Iran condemned the new sanctions and their Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan stated the new US sanctions would have no effect.

BBC reports, Iran condemns new US sanctions over missile test:

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said on Monday: “Iran’s missile programme has never been designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”

He said: “The US sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile programme… have no legal or moral legitimacy.”

Mr Ansari added: “America sells tens of billions of dollars of weaponry each year to countries in the region. These weapons are used in war crimes against Palestinian, Lebanese and most recently Yemeni citizens.”…..

On Saturday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had verified that Iran had restricted its sensitive nuclear activities, as required by the agreement……

[Obama] said the US would “remain steadfast in opposing Iran’s destabilising behaviour elsewhere” – such as its missile tests.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday of the new sanctions: “Any action will be met by a reaction.”

Now that the sanctions have been lifted, the U.S. will be holding talks with Israel on a new “military aid framework” as part of the “compensation package” because of the Iranian nuclear agreement, upgrading their quantitive military edge. Seems U.S. aid to Israel will be notched up and extra billion a year to 4.1 billion.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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36 Responses

  1. amigo
    January 19, 2016, 3:38 pm

    Here we go again.Handing fodder to the right wing in Iran.

    Maybe the Iranians want to launch a Sputnik into space , so they can forecast their own weather or is even that too much hi tech to allow the Iranians.

    Besides , the missile was launched before the deal was signed.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 19, 2016, 3:51 pm

      amigo, the missle testing happened in october 2015. the deal was signed in july. but the resolution specifically said missile testing for a nuke, not just missile testing. and note the IAEA cleared the sanctions and made no issue re the missle testing. so i think this is just congress getting their rankles up. sanctions have no teeth if other countries don’t go along, and i don’t think they will.

      bbc( same link as above):

      In October, Iran tested a precision-guided ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, in defiance of a UN ban.

      Announcing the measures, Adam J Szubin, US acting under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said: “Iran’s ballistic missile programme poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions.”

      in case you don’t recall who szubin is:

      The reality is that the position of counter-terrorism czar is an Israel lobby job. He (they’re all men) is tasked with keeping up sanctions pressure on Iran through the international banking system, but also supporting the president’s efforts to negotiate a new relationship with Iran. – See more at:

      • amigo
        January 19, 2016, 4:26 pm

        Annie , thanks for jogging my somewhat malfunctioning memory.Has it really been 6 months since the deal was agreed.

        As you say , Israel and it,s minions in the Congress are busy trying to undo it.I wonder how many more dirty tricks they have up their sleeves.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 19, 2016, 4:55 pm

        yes just 6 months. it just seems longer since the last few months of slaughter sucked all the energy out of our memories. after it was signed there were those 2 months of lobby wrangling trying to get congress to tank the deal (i think the congressional deadline was sept 16). that failed (which is probably why israel initiated their recent slaughter campaign, to assuage those feelings of impotency — might as well take it out on palestinians). remember netanyahu’s congressional speech was just last spring. time keeps on plugging away.

      • pabelmont
        January 20, 2016, 9:28 am

        Annie: Help me here.

        Don’t USA sanctions include restricting someone’s access to USA banks, clearing houses, use of $USD internationally? If so, how much do USA banking sanctions depend on other countries going along? (Hope I’m wrong!)

    • Emory Riddle
      January 20, 2016, 10:10 am

      The US did not impose new sanctions.

      Adam Szubin and his fellow Zionists in the Treasury did. They did not even bother to inform Obama, Kerry, or even their direct boss, fellow Zionist Jacob Lew.

      Let’s be clear on the facts.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 20, 2016, 12:46 pm

        They did not even bother to inform Obama, Kerry, or even their direct boss, fellow Zionist Jacob Lew.

        VIENNA — With three Americans long held in Iran flying to Europe on Sunday, President Obama urged young Iranians to “pursue a new path” with the West as he imposed modest new sanctions on the country for banned missile tests.

        there’s also a video of obama’s speech at the link.

      • Emory Riddle
        January 20, 2016, 2:51 pm

        Szubin put the sanctions on before discussing with Kerry or Obama or even Lew.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 20, 2016, 6:30 pm

        source? because the treasury announced on sunday, after obama’s speech. he also was appointed by the prez. and i don’t think he’s required to run it past kerry, only the prez.

  2. Annie Robbins
    January 19, 2016, 3:53 pm

    awesome cartoon by carlos latuff! thank you carlos!

  3. HarryLaw
    January 19, 2016, 4:06 pm

    The US shooting themselves in the foot again, these sanctions are fairly insignificant and in themselves should not make Iran panic, rather they should not have expected anything different from the US who have a record of reneging on agreements, although coming a day after the agreement must have come as a bit of a shock. While the rest of the world rush to do lucrative deals with Iran, American businessmen must be tearing their hair out at this missed opportunity to get a piece of the action. Hillary Mann Leverett in a debate on PressTV said that Obama should do what Nixon did in its rapprochement with China but that unfortunately the arrangements the US has with Israel and Saudi Arabia with the Petrodollar and 10’s of billions of arms sales to the latter complicates things.

  4. Les
    January 19, 2016, 7:23 pm

    U.S. Sidelines Itself in the Rush to Iran

    However, the U.S. trade embargo with Iran remains largely intact — outside of
    newly created authorizations for the import of Iran-origin carpets and certain foodstuffs and the sale to Iran of commercial aircraft. Under the trade embargo, U.S. companies are barred from engaging in trade with or investment in Iran — with few exceptions. Violating these U.S. sanctions prohibitions can lead to serious criminal and civil penalties.

    This is a significant loss for the United States. Right at this moment, Europe, Japan, and a host of the U.S.’s closest allies are sending trade delegations to Tehran to connect with their Iranian counterparts and snap up new business opportunities, all the while effectively reintegrating Iran with their own respective economies. Having isolated Iran for the past decade, the United States is now left fencing only itself off from Tehran – an unfortunate consequence of the lack of political will and imagination from which Washington continues to suffer with regards to the Islamic Republic.

    • RoHa
      January 19, 2016, 7:44 pm

      “Tehran is in talks to buy Airbus passenger aircraft by the dozens.”

      I bet the Boeing executives are strong supporters of the sanctions.

      • HarryLaw
        January 23, 2016, 7:16 am

        Despite its edge over rival Boeing in the headlines, any deals Airbus strikes will also require U.S. license approval, since more than 10 percent of its planes come from U.S. parts.
        With significant U.S. interests including a new Alabama factory, the European company is expected to tread carefully.

    • Boomer
      January 20, 2016, 7:05 am

      re “This is a significant loss for the United States. ”

      Yes, but that is not important. What is important is the fact that it is a significant gain for Israel, for the military-industrial-congressional complex, and for the neocons.

  5. Kay24
    January 20, 2016, 2:37 am

    It would be a good thing for the US to join the rest of the world and included Iran in the world community. We seem to be good pals with other nations who do the same as Iran, and yet we pretend we do not know it. Iran is going to level the playing field over there, and other arrogant ME nations who have been throwing their weight around will be a little more hesitant to do so.
    No one can blame Iran for wanting nuclear weapons or energy, at the rate their neighbors keep pounding their chests and even threatening war at every turn, they need some security.

  6. HarryLaw
    January 20, 2016, 5:47 am

    Iran, Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah form the ‘arc of resistance’ to US/Israel designs on the region i.e, Israeli hegemony backed up by the Sunni Dictators. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared that he prefers ISIS over Iran in Syria and that “believing that the Sunnis, like ISIS, are practically on their side”. Who can doubt that? Seems the Palestinians have chosen the wrong side. While Palestinians starve in Gaza and are shot to death for no reason by their occupiers, their “so called allies” the Saudis and Gulf state allies [perverts] spend hundreds of billions of dollars on arms and cavort round the world in gold plated airplanes, and spend more money in one night in western whorehouses than the average Palestinian earns in a lifetime. The Palestinians seem to be on their own, but what is worse is they have no political leadership with any vision or with no ideas on the best form of resistance. “There are no new strategies,” said Hani Habib, a Gaza-based columnist and political commentator. “There is not even a Palestinian thinking or vision, let alone strategy,” he said, blaming what he called “Palestinian political bankruptcy”.
    “This is the biggest disaster: the world does not bother about us and we ourselves are careless about our present and future. We have lost the respect of the world.”

  7. pabelmont
    January 20, 2016, 9:43 am

    As to Iran, see below. Hint: Who is supposed to care if the USA shoots itself in the foot?

    My sense is that the USA has been abandoned by the oligarchy in the sense that its people don’t count for anything. No-one comes up with money to repair infrastructure (roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, etc.). We don’t pay real wages to a huge percentage of our people. (Henry Ford paid his assembly-line workers enough that they could afford to buy his cars, but USA employers, such as there are, do not.) Whatever purchasing power we have is based on [credit card, education loans] borrowing, not on wages. Some major employers pay their employees so little that the employees qualify for food stamps, etc. The government thereby subsidizes the employers. And no BIGs pay taxes. It’s down-the-drain-ville here.

    Multi-national, international business? With employees in hundreds of countries, factories in hundreds of countries, stock-holders in hundreds of countries have no loyalties to any particular country? do “American corporations” act American? Do they protect or serve the USA? Pay substantial taxes to USA? Or do they ship jobs overseas, place factories wherever labor is cheapest and environmental laws (or enforcements) are weakest? Surely a better name for these things is “rootless cosmopolitan corporations”, for they are without loyalties, take everywhere and give nowhere.

    So do our sanctions shoot our businesses in the foot? so what? Who cares about our foot? Now if the businesses that wanted to trade with Iran were a significant part of the oligarchy, you’d expect a different behavior from Congress. Watch this spot.

  8. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    January 20, 2016, 9:51 am

    I actually don’t think this is such a big deal. Likely it was a gesture to appease the headbangers who say Obama ‘gave in’ to Iran. In the bigger picture, with international sanctions lifted, they’re fairly insignficant.

    My guess is that Iran is going to be very cautious about doing business with the US. Not worth the risk. Why should they, when they have the rest of the world clamouring to sell stuff to them? I think the fact that they have just signed a huge contract with Airbus rather than Boeing, as mentioned above, is a sign of things to come. It’s really America’s loss. There will be no rolling back of sanctions. Bibi can do all his staredowns and cartoon dramas, but it’s a done deal.

  9. MaxNarr
    January 20, 2016, 11:14 am

    It’s hardly a sock, and why all the defense of Iran here? Must you love EVERY enemy of Israel?

    • John O
      January 20, 2016, 2:29 pm

      Given Israel’s capacity for making enemies, we inevitably love some of them. Israel has just managed to insult the new US ambassador to Tel Aviv:

      “Shapiro was […] publicly lambasted on Israeli television on Tuesday by a former aide to Netanyahu who used the deeply offensive Hebrew word “yehudon” – which translates as “little Jew boy” – to disparage the ambassador. The term is used by rightwing Israelis against other Jews – particularly those in the diaspora – whom they regard as not being sufficiently Jewish or pro-Israel.”

    • amigo
      January 20, 2016, 2:54 pm

      “Must you love EVERY enemy of Israel?”maxnurd

      Must you make it so easy for us.

      • echinococcus
        January 20, 2016, 3:36 pm


        Ever heard “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”?
        As if they didn’t teach you that at the Zionist kindergarten.

    • oldgeezer
      January 20, 2016, 4:12 pm


      Neither you nor Israel factor into it. It really isn’t all about you.

    • Mooser
      January 20, 2016, 4:20 pm

      “It’s hardly a sock, and why all the defense of Iran here? Must you love EVERY enemy of Israel?”

      I just don’t know what went wrong, “MaxNarr”. Imagine loving Iran more than Israel! Compared to Israel, Iran is just a Beefsteak or Early Girl.

      Here “MaxNarr” here’s something to bring you back to the good ol days of left-liberal Zionism; None other than The Limeliters, singing “Milk and Honey”

      If that don’t make Zionists out of us, nothing will.

    • Talkback
      January 21, 2016, 3:06 pm

      MaxNarr: “Must you love EVERY enemy of Israel?”

      Must you lie even when you ask questions?

  10. Theo
    January 20, 2016, 11:56 am

    Since when does the Treasury declare sanctions on a foreign country, that should be the job of the president or the congress.
    This dishonest act shows that the world cannot trust us. Iran has a huge backlog of investments, running to several hundred billion dollars, and they could decide to do business only with european and asian firms. That would prove Washington that dishonesty can backfire.

    • Mooser
      January 20, 2016, 4:26 pm

      Theo, I’m pretty sure that Treasury is part of the Executive department of the US Gov. ? I think, but I’m not sure, that Treasury takes it’s orders from the Executive, or the President.
      I know they didn’t ask me, anyway.

  11. Steve Grover
    January 20, 2016, 2:08 pm

    How many executions took place in Iran in 2015?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 20, 2016, 6:47 pm

      i have no idea. google is your friend.

      • Steve Grover
        January 21, 2016, 11:33 am

        According to these Zionist publications and organizations: The Guardian, Al-Jazeera and Amnesty International.

        Iran executed over 1000 people in 2015. The exact number is unknown. The population of Iran is 78 million.

        For comparison Saudi Arabia executed 151 people in 2015 and the population there is 31 million.

        The United States had executed 28 people in 2015 and the population is 319 million.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 21, 2016, 2:08 pm

        so steve, i suppose you are aware how much sanctions very much impact those 78 million people. are you suggesting because of a hardline gov policy on executions (which i completely oppose as i am anti death penalty) iran sanctions should continue?

        btw, i’m not seeing “Guardian, Al-Jazeera and Amnesty International” links supporting the allegations. all of them are from july saying they could hit 1000 this year based on statistics at that point. albeit, you could be right. here’s one from october titled UN: Executions in Iran could top 1,000 in 2015

        In July, Amnesty International reported a “surge” in executions in 2015.

        As of July 15, authorities in the country had only officially recognized 246 executions. But Amnesty received “credible reports” of another 448 unreported executions.

        Iranian authorities have historically only acknowledge a fraction of their overall executions, the rights group added.

        In 2014, Tehran acknowledged 289 of 743 total executions in 2014, the report said.

        anyway, i am not seeing the significance of iran’s rates of executions as it pertains to the sanctions. do you think the US should sanction SA over their head choppings? or israel over their extra judicial executions or assassinations?

  12. Sycamores
    January 20, 2016, 8:45 pm

    most of the information i could gather on the actual Iranian guided ballistic missile wouldn’t suggest a global threat as the U.S. Department of Treasury is trying to sell.

    Emad the designated name of the ballistic missile.

    the info from Iran on the missile is kept under wraps but there are footage of the missile which help Al Monitor piece together some information.

    the information that follow was based on footage of its firing.

    the Emad is a medium range single stage ballistic missile
    with a range of 1,000 miles, hardly a global threat.

    payload of 750 kg to 1,000 kg approx.

    on to the guidance system how serious do we take this. it’s not like Iran has military satellites in orbit to help guide these missiles. the best they can do is guide them via radio from Iran’s military stations, what’s that a few hundred miles. there are suggestion the range can be extended via unmanned aerial vehicles in Syria and Lebanon.

    Iran choose liquid fuel over solid fuel which is a step backwards when compare to their earlier ballistic missiles.

    the technology use in the construction of the Emad hasn’t really progress beyond Iran earlier Ballistic missile design.

    i found the site called Missile Threat .com who claim the Emad is a long range ballistic missile

    The Missile Threat .com A Project of the George C. Marshall and Claremont Institutes

    both George C. Marshall and Claremont Institutes are right wing think tanks pushing lies about the capabilities of the Emad.

    information on Missile classifications

    Missiles are classified according to their range:

    Battlefield range (BRBM):less than 124 miles (200 kilometers)
    Tactical (TAC): between 93 – 186 miles (150 – 300 km)
    Short Range (SRBM): less than 621 miles (1,000 km)
    Theatre (TBM): between 186 – 2,175 miles (300 – 3,500 km)
    Medium Range (MRBM): between 621 – 2,175 miles (1,000 – 3,500 km)
    Intermediate Range (IRBM) or Long Range (LRBM) : between 2,175 – 3,418 miles (3,500 – 5,500 km)
    Intercontinental (ICBM): greater than 3,418 miles (5,500 km)

    as you can see within this classification the The Emad is medium range.

    other sources besides Al Monitor

    Expert says Emad missile would have a range of 1,700 km (1,060 miles), 500 meters accuracy and a 750 kg payload.

    there is a video of the Ehad as well.

    and here we have Jpost in December trying to sell us that the Ehad is a ICBM which it is lie as shown in the Missile classifications and which is clearly confirm in the prior blockquote that Jpost wrote themselves

    Since brokering the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with world powers, Tehran has tested intercontinental ballistic missile technologies in violation of existing United Nations Security Council resolutions.

    The weapons, known as ICBMs, are designed primarily to carry nuclear payloads.

    then we have Reuters article in Haaretz with a picture of the Ehad with a description stating

    Picture showing last reported missile test conducted by Iran: An Emad long-range missile being tested.

    but in the article it’s clearly stated as medium range missile.!

  13. JLewisDickerson
    January 20, 2016, 10:41 pm

    RE: “As sanctions end over nuclear program, US socks Iran with new sanctions over missile testing”

    MY SNARKCASM: The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord!
    ALTERNATIVE VERSION: The Lord giveth, and the lord(s) taketh away; accursed be the names of the lord(s)!


    “And [Job] said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” ~ Job 1:21 (King James Version)

  14. Pippilin
    January 28, 2016, 12:29 pm

    Obama’s foreign policy is really very simple: drones and sanctions.

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