US President Barack Obama’s administration will reportedly delay planned financial sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program, after the Iranian president ordered the accelerated production of missiles in response to reports of possible new sanctions.
On Wednesday, reports had surfaced that the US Treasury Department would impose sanctions in the wake of Iran’s missile testing in October and November.
On Thursday night, the Wall Street Journal reported that the White House has delayed its plan to impose new sanctions on Iran, amid growing tensions with Iran over the July 14 2015, nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
American officials quoted by the Journal did not give a timeframe for the new possible sanctions.
Earlier in the day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued an order calling on the country’s Defense Ministry to expedite efforts for boosting the country’s missile power.
In a decree to Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, Rouhani ordered acceleration in Iran’s program for production of “various types of missiles” needed to improve the country’s defense capabilities.
Rouhani called the purported plan by the White House a measure in line with hostile US policies to “illegally interfere in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s programs for boosting the defense power.”
Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned potential sanctions, saying they violate the agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany – in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Under the agreement, Iran has been recognized by the United Nations as a nuclear power and will continue its uranium enrichment program, but some restrictions will be placed on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions.
“Iran will resolutely respond to any interfering action by America against its defensive programs,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said.