US, EU allies demand Iran halt ballistic activity

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The United States and three of its European allies urged Iran to halt all ballistic missile activity after Tehran tested a satellite-launch rocket in what Washington denounced as a “provocative” act.

“We condemn this action,” read a joint statement by Britain, France, Germany and the United States, saying Thursday’s test was in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Iran’s program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 and has a destabilizing impact in the region. We call on Iran not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities.”

The US said it is slapping Iran with new ballistic missiles sanctions in response to its launch of a satellite-carrying rocket into space a day earlier.

The sanctions target six Iranian subsidiaries of the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group. The Treasury Department says that group is “central” to Iran’s ballistic missiles program.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the sanctions illustrate deep US concerns about Iran’s missile testing and other actions. He says the US will continue countering Iran’s ballistic missile program including Thursday’s “provocative space launch.”

The US has said that launch flouted a UN Security Council resolution because the technology is inherently designed to be able to carry a nuclear payload.

The sanctions come as the Trump administration continues debating its Iran policy and whether to scrap the 2015 nuclear deal.

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