Iran president.jpg
Photograph: EPA/PRESIDENTIAL OFFICIAL WEBSITE

New sanctions imposed on Iran's ballistic missile programme by the United States are mere "propaganda," Foreign Ministry spokesman Jaber Ansari said Monday in Tehran.

The measures introduced at the weekend by Washington are aimed at mollifying the critics - both inside and outside of the United States - to a nuclear deal hammered out by Iran and a group of international powers during the course of the last year.

Weekend confirmation of the deal's implementation, which requires Iran to limit its nuclear capabilities, allowed the lifting of many international sanctions on Tehran on Saturday, Ansari said.

However, the US imposed the fresh sanctions due to concerns that ballistic missiles recently tested by Iran could carry atomic warheads, a claim Ansari said was baseless on Monday. US President Barack Obama said Sunday that testing the missiles was a violation of international agreements.

Iran disagrees with the US assessment. The missiles were intended for defence purposes and posed no threat to other countries, Ansari said.

Meanwhile, action on the nuclear deal continued, as the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Tehran Monday, to discuss further inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities under the deal.

IAEA head Yukiya Amano was to meet with President Hassan Rowhani and Iran's nuclear head Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported.

"We still have business to attend to with Amano, even after the deal," Rowhani was quoted as saying in another ISNA report Sunday.

The two sides would have to work closely together regarding the further inspections agreed, he said, adding that he hoped to build improved trust in the relationship.

Meeting in Brussels, EU foreign ministers spoke favourably of the deal and tried to minimize the focus on the new sanctions.

"You know, every time that you have positive steps on security and cooperation, there are always some reactions and that is quite normal," said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. We have to absorb them and for sure guarantee that this becomes a step towards cooperation in the region.

"We have shown that even the most difficult relations can come to positive results, through dialogue, through diplomacy, through cooperation, and this is true also for the actors in the region. We know, peace is not going to come soon and easily, as the deal did not come soon and easily, but it came in the end."

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders was also effusive.

"I am delighted that we can, for once in a meeting ,welcome a very favourable decision, that is the implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement, because it can also weigh on the situation in the region," he said.

"The fact of being able to lift the sanctions, the fact of having Iran return to the international scene, is a positive element in the region today."

Meanwhile, the price of oil fell to a more-than 12-year low on Monday, adding to concerns that the lifting of sanctions against Iran will boost the global oversupply of the commodity.

Brent crude dropped to 27.67 dollars a barrel - its lowest price since 2003. US crude also slumped to a more-than 12-year low of 28.36 dollars a barrel.

Related stories

UN nuclear chief heads to Iran after sanctions lifted

US considers new Iran sanctions over missile programme

Iran defends rocket tests as legitimate

Latest news

Trump administration reverses transgender bathroom protections

The Trump administration on Wednesday withdrew Obama-era guidance about the use of school and university bathrooms by transgender students, local media reported.

Several Dakota Access Pipeline protesters arrested as deadline passes

Several people at a camp protesting against a controversial oil pipeline in the US state of North Dakota were arrested Wednesday after a deadline to vacate the land passed, local media reported.

Germany deports 18 rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan

A Kabul-bound plane with 18 Afghan migrants on board took off from Munich Airport late Wednesday, its passengers becoming the third group of rejected asylum seekers to be deported by German authorities back to Afghanistan.

New Romanian justice minister named after anti-corruption protests

Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has named a former judge to be the country's next justice minister, after the previous office holder resigned under pressure from mass anti-corruption protests.

Le Pen's chief of staff indicted in European Parliament jobs probe

The chief of staff of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for president in upcoming French elections, was indicted Wednesday over allegations of irregular reimbursements from the European Parliament, a judicial source told dpa.

Montenegrin police extradites Miodrag Jovic to Croatia

Montenegrin police reported on Wednesday that they extradited to Croatia Miodrag Jovic (48) from Glina, after whom Interpol Zagreb issued an arrest warrant.

Croatian minister attends CoMoCoSEE conference in Albania

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek participated in a third conference of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-Eastern Europe (CoMoCoSEE) that took place in Tirana on February 21-22.

New Somali president asks al-Shabaab to surrender to 'help' country

Somalia's newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo asked Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab to surrender in order "to help rebuild" the conflict-ridden East African nation.

Serbia's EU negotiator says minority rights neglected

The head of the Serbia's European Union accession negotiation team, Tanja Miscevic, said in Novi Sad on Wednesday that minority rights had been neglected for many years and added that positive results in that regard cannot be achieved over night, the Beta news agency has reported. 

Scientists: Nearby star's 7 rocky planets are "best bet" for life

New analysis of telescope data shows a dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth has at least seven apparently rocky planets with potential to harbour water, an international team of scientists announced Wednesday.

Croatian PM receives EIB Vice-President

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met on Wednesday with European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Dario Scannapieco for talks on the bank's contribution to a new investment cycle in Croatia and its support to the Croatian government to implement key projects, a press release from the government's office said.

Bomb explodes outside police officer's home in Northern Ireland

A bomb exploded outside a police officer's home in Northern Ireland on Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.