The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday sanctioned two senior Iranian defence officials, an Iranian company, a Chinese man and three Chinese firms for backing ballistic missile development in Iran. Separately, however, Washington also extended wider sanctions relief for Iran called for under the nuclear accord.
"Iran condemns America's unacceptable ill will in its effort to undermine the positive outcome of Tehran's commitment to implement the nuclear deal by adding individuals to its list of unilateral and illegal sanctions," state TV quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.
Rouhani's main rival Ebrahim Raisi, an acolyte of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has criticised Rouhani's conciliatory approach to the West and the economy's continued sluggishness despite the lifting of global sanctions.
Qasemi, echoing Iran's official stance, said Iran's ballistic missile programme was no breach of the nuclear deal. "Iran will continue its missile programme forcefully...as planned," he said.
In retaliation for the new U.S. sanctions, Iran said it had added nine American individuals and companies to its own list of 15 U.S. companies for alleged human rights violations and cooperation with Israel, its arch-enemy.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Mark Heinrich) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +90 532 176 3452; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
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