On Thursday, Iran criticized the new US sanctions on their ballistic missile programs, saying that this program is designed to continue the “maximum pressure” policy on Tehran.
On Wednesday, Washington declared a new round of sanctions that targets the Iran ballistic missile program a week later when a missile struck in Erbil, which was claimed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
According to the US Treasury, the new sanctions target the IRGC’s division involved in ballistic missile research and development, as well as Parchin Chemical Industries (PCI), a component of Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO) and an intermediary involved in missile part procurement.
According to State Secretary Antony Blinken’ Iran’s ballistic missile-related activities continue to destabilize the Middle East region, and the US will continue to use every tool at our removal to disrupt them.
In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated that the sanctions “demonstrate the US government’s malice” toward the Iranian people.
According to Khatibzadeh, despite claiming willingness to return to the complete execution of the Iran nuclear deal, “persists in violating the deal and UN Security Council Resolution 2231”.
The new round of sanctions comes as marathon talks to save the 2015 nuclear agreement enter their final stages.
While Tehran has demanded the lifting of sanctions in the talks, which have been ongoing since April, it has also declared its missile programme “non-negotiable,” raising concerns in the West.
Currently, Iran has made steady progress in developing high-precision ballistic missiles, cruise missiles as well as a range of drones.
In March, Iran unveiled the Khyber Shikan missile, a third-generation missile in the IRGC’s arsenal with a range of 1,450 kilometers, propelled by “solid fuel” and boasting “high maneuverability” to pass through a missile shield.
In 2021 December, more than hundreds of ballistic missiles and drones were showcased during a military drill, which targeted the mock-up model of Israel’s Dimona nuclear facility.
Meanwhile, the eighth and the decisive round of talks has been indefinitely suspended as both sides discuss the remaining sticking points, including the de-listing of the IRGC.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in a current discussion, termed the IRGC’s de-listing as one of the “key remaining issues”, and told if the Americans take a “realistic approach”, the agreement will be “within reach.”
In response, US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley asserted that the IRGC would continue to be on the US blacklist, de-linking it with the ongoing nuclear deal talks.