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Iran: New U.S. Sanctions Over Missile Tests 'Illegitimate'

This undated picture released on October 11, 2015, by the Iranian Defense Ministry on their website reportedly shows the launch of an Emad missile during tests at an undisclosed location in Iran. Iran announced it had successfully tested the new domestically produced long-range missile, which it said was the first that could be guided all the way to targets.

Tehran has denounced new U.S. sanctions imposed over Iran's ballistic-missile program, claiming that the sanctions "have no legal or moral legitimacy" because of Washington's arms sales to other countries in the Middle East.

A day after Washington and the European Union lifted economic sanctions under a nuclear deal with Tehran, the United States on January 17 announced fresh sanctions against Iranian companies and individuals linked to Iran's missile program.

Sanctions were imposed against five Iranian nationals and a network of companies based in the United Arab Emirates and China, the U.S. Treasury Department announced in a statement.

Those sanctions came in response to Iranian ballistic-missile tests in October and November that United Nations experts determined were in violation of a 2010 UN Security Council resolution banning Iran from launches capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said that "Iran's ballistic-missile program poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions."

In remarks shortly before the U.S. announcement, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said that any new sanctions would be "met by an appropriate response."

Earlier in the day Rohani hailed the lifting of international sanctions on his country, saying a nuclear deal with world powers opened "new windows" for Tehran's engagement with the world.

Rohani told parliament on January 17 that the deal was also a "turning point" for Iran's economy, adding that the energy-rich country needed to be less reliant on oil revenues.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced on January 17 that the United States and Iran had also settled a long-standing dispute over $400 million dating back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the end of diplomatic ties.

The United States will repay Iran the $400 million debt and $1.3 billion in interest.

The money was part of a trust fund that was once used by Iran to buy military equipment from the United States and is separate from the tens of billions of dollars in frozen foreign accounts that Iran can now access.

On January 16, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iran had kept its nuclear promises under its July agreement with six world powers -- triggering the end of nuclear-related sanctions.

But Washington says the issue of Iran's missile tests is separate from the nuclear accord.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and Press TV
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