The United States is considering fresh sanctions against Iran for the first time since it reached an historic nuclear agreement with Tehran earlier this year, a senior US official said Thursday.
The sanctions are to target nearly a dozen firms and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their role in Iran's ballistic missile programme, unnamed US officials told the Wall Street Journal and CNN.
A senior US official confirmed to dpa Thursday that additional sanctions were under consideration, but did not provide details about what those sanctions might entail.
"We've been looking for some time at options for additional actions related to Iran's ballistic missile programme based on our continued concerns about its activities, including the October 10th launch," the official said on condition of anonymity.
"We are considering various aspects related to additional designations, as well as evolving diplomatic work that is consistent with our national security interests."
News of the possible sanctions drew ire from Iran, with the country's Foreign Ministry denouncing them as a violation of the July accord that provides sanctions relief in exchange for the curtailing of Tehran's civilian nuclear programme.
Tehran denounced the planned sanctions as "illegal," declaring it has a "legitimate right" to increase its defence capabilities, Iranian Foreign Ministery spokesman Jaber Ansari said Thursday.
The US measures would not prevent Iran from pursuing its defence goals, he said, according to the ISNA news agency.
Although the nuclear deal reached by Iran and six world powers in July provides sanctions relief in exchange for steps to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, it allows sanctions in relation to Tehran's missile programme, the financing of terrorism and human rights violations.
Iran successfully tested a medium-range rocket in October, which the US declared a violation of a UN Security Council resolution.