The U.S. has imposed a new round of sanctions on six Iranian firms with ties to Iran’s ballistic-missile program, the Treasury Department announced Friday. The sanctions arrived one day after the Iranian state media said Iran had successfully launched an advanced satellite-carrying rocket into space—one that uses much of the same technology as a long-range ballistic missile. Last month, Pentagon experts claimed the rocket used Thursday—known as the Simorgh—could “shorten a pathway” to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
With these concerns in mind, the U.S. State Department said Thursday that Iran’s test launch violated UN Security Council resolutions, as well as the spirit of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran, the U.S., and five other world powers. Under the agreement, the U.S. administration is required to report to Congress on the status of Iran’s nuclear program every 90 days. A day before the rocket launch, Trump warned Iran that it could face “big, big problems” if it violated the deal.
While announcing the sanctions on Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the rocket launch “provocative,” adding that the U.S. held “deep concerns with Iran’s continued development and testing of ballistic missiles.” All six firms sanctioned on Friday are either owned or controlled by the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, an organization described by Treasury Department as “central” to the Iranian missile program. The department said the firms are responsible for manufacturing missile components—including liquid propellant, airframes, engines, and guidance and control systems—and conducting missile-related research.