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Trump imposes sanctions on people and companies in Iran

 (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Trump imposed sanctions on Iran on Friday, delivering on his promise to take a harder line with the volatile U.S. foe.

The sanctions, on 13 people and 12 companies, came a day after he put Iran “on notice” for testing a medium-range ballistic missile and for attacks by Iran-funded Houthi militants on a Saudi frigate. The early test from Iran has put pressure on Trump, following a campaign spent denouncing the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers negotiated by the Obama administration.

“Iran’s continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide, and to the United States. Today’s action is part of Treasury’s ongoing efforts to counter Iranian malign activity abroad ...,” said John E. Smith, acting director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. “We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behavior.”

Trump tweeted Friday morning that Iran is "playing with fire."

“They don't appreciate how 'kind' President Obama was to them. Not me!” Trump continued.

That followed angry words from Iran, which has been incensed over Trump's temporary ban on travel from the country, along with six other majority Muslim nations.

Ali Akbar Velayati, senior advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a former foreign minister, was quoted by the Tasnim news agency Thursday calling Trump a “puppet,” a “novice” and an extremist.

“This is not the first time when an inexperienced man is threatening Iran,” he said. “The new administration of America will realize that threatening Iran will not work, and empty and baseless ranting should be stopped.”

Trump has spent weeks before and after taking office stirring other countries with his fiery rhetoric in tweets, speeches and phone calls. Some of his domestic actions — halting all refugees as well as foreign visitors from seven countries and taking the first steps toward a border wall — also have sent a strong message to friends and foes around the world.

But Friday’s action marks the most direct step aimed at penalizing another nation, underscoring the aggressive foreign policy approach Trump has promised to take.

The move marks a period of renewed tension after the 2015 deal to prevent the state from building a nuclear program. Trump campaigned on tearing up the deal, which he called terrible. Israel opposed the deal, as did many conservatives in the U.S.

But if Trump attempts to unravel it alone, analysts say he would have a hard time getting cooperation to reimpose international sanctions from allies who backed the deal. The sanctions were crucial to getting Iran to negotiate the nuclear deal.

The Trump administration said the launch of a missile Sunday from a site 130 miles east of Tehran — which exploded 650 miles away — violated United Nations resolution 2231, forbidding “any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons” by Iran.

Iran denied it violated the resolution. The U.N. has yet to weigh in.

Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, announced the administration’s objections Wednesday. Trump followed that up Thursday with a series of tweets.

“Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” Trump wrote.

7:38 a.m.: This story was updated with comment from the Treasury Department.

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