Obama To Hit New "Friend" Iran With Fresh Sanctions Over Contested Ballistic-Missile Program

Tyler Durden's picture

Spot what’s wrong with the following sentence: “The Obama administration is preparing to impose its first financial sanctions on Iran since it forged a landmark nuclear agreement in July.”

That’s from WSJ and it underscores how truly absurd the relationship between Washington and Tehran has become. Just as the US is preparing to lift crippling international sanctions against Iran in connection with the country’s nuclear program, The White House is set to slap new sanctions on the country to punish the Iranians for advances in ballistic-missile development.

You might recall that back in October, Tehran test-fired the Emad, a new generation, precision-guided, surface-to-surface ballistic missile with the capability of hitting arch enemy Israel. According to The Center for Strategic and International Studies, the liquid-propelled Shahab-3 variant has a range of 1,700 kilometers, is accurate to within 500 meters of the target, and can carry a 750-kilogram payload. For those who might have missed it, here’s the test-fire:

As we wrote at the time, Iran simply doesn't seem to care how Washington feels when it comes to the development of what Tehran calls “defensive” weapons. If you read between the lines, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan essentially said in October that Iran will continue to exploit any and all ambiguities in the nuclear deal to its advantage up to and including building new ballistic missile systems, an act which certainly goes against the spirit of the deal if not the letter. 

And while the launch of the Emad may not have violated the letter of the “historic” nuclear accord, it did, apparently, violate paragraph 9 of Security Council resolution 1929 (see here). As Reuters notes, “a team of U.N. sanctions monitors said in a confidential report that a medium-range Emad rocket that Iran tested on Oct. 10 was a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, making it a violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution.” That finding prompted the likes of Chris Coons - who, you’re reminded, wants to impose a new tax on Americans to fund the “war” on ISIS - to call for the imposition of new sanctions going into the new year. 

Now, on the heels of a “close call” in the Strait of Hormuz where the US claims rockets fired by the Iranians passed within 1,500 yards of the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, Washington is preparing sanctions against a handful (or two) of companies and individuals tied to Tehran’s ballistic-missile program. 

“The planned action by the Treasury Department is directed at nearly a dozen companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates,” WSJ reports, adding that “the sanctions being prepared by the Treasury Department relate to two Iran-linked networks alleged to be involved in developing the country’s missile program and include sanctions on many of the individuals involved.” 

"We've been looking for some time‎ at options for additional actions related to Iran's ballistic missile program based on our continued concerns about its activities, including the October 10th launch,” an unnamed White House official said. "We are considering various aspects related to additional designations, as well as evolving diplomatic work that is consistent with our national security interests." 

Here’s the new sanctions list:

  • U.A.E.-based Mabrooka Trading and its founder, Hossein Pournaghshband
  • Hong Kong-based Anhui Land Group 
  • Five officials from Iran’s Ministry of Defense for Armed Forces Logistics, or MODAFL including Sayyed Javad Musavi, a key figure at a MODAFL subsidiary which has been the subject of Treasury Dept. sanctions in the past

Amusingly, Washington is playing the Kim card. Here's The Journal again:

Among the reasons for the potential new sanctions are ties the Treasury is alleging between Iran and North Korea on missile development. This includes Iran buying components from Pyongyang’s state-owned Korea Mining Development Trading Corp., which is sanctioned by both the U.S. and the European Union. 


The U.S. also alleges that Tehran sent technicians to North Korea over the past two years to jointly work with its defense industries on the development of an 80-ton rocket booster.

The "Axis of Evil" is alive and well apparently.

Chris Coons is pleased. “Strict, aggressive, and consistent enforcement is critical to punishing Iran for its destabilizing behavior and making the nuclear deal work,” he said. John McCain, who accused The White House of “turning a blind eye to Iranian saber rattling for fear Iran will walk away from the nuclear deal” after the rocket “incident” on Sunday, along with other war hawks, will likely say the punishment doesn’t go far enough. 

Make no mistake, there are important political implications for Iran as well. "Inside Iran, hard-liners fear that President Hassan Rouhani will use the deal, and the imminent lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions, to bolster his party in the coming parliamentary elections," The New York Times wrote on Wednesday. The same "hard-liners" have in the past derided the Rouhani's nuclear accord.

As WSJ also notes, “Iranian officials have warned the White House in recent months that any such financial penalties would be viewed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a violation of the nuclear accord.” And make no mistake, the Ayatollah isn’t a man who enjoys being embarrassed.

Sure enough, Tehran was out on Thursday calling the new sanctions “arbitrary and illegal.” 

"Iran's missile program has no connection to the (nuclear) agreement," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said. “Iran will resolutely respond to any interfering action by America against its defensive programs.”

All of this speaks to an underlying debate about why the US should be allowed to interfere when sovereign countries pursue the very same technologies that their sworn enemies are pursuing. As a reminder, the US is also staunchly opposed to the sale of Russian S-300 missile defense systems to Tehran. According to Sergei Lavrov, those weapons cannot be used for offensive purposes and yet Washington still insists Iran shouldn't have them. Ayatollah rants notwithstanding, the idea that Tehran would launch a preemptive strike on Israel (or anyone else for that matter) is borderline absurd. One shouldn't simply expect a major world power to sit idly by while the rest of the world makes advances in both offensive and defensive weapons. 

"Secretary of State John Kerry delayed the nuclear deal reached in July in Vienna by days as he haggled with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, over the side issue of whether, and how long, a United Nations resolution banning missile development and testing would remain in place," The Times reminds us. "The Iranians dismissed that part of the accord as soon as it was announced: Nothing, they said, could infringe on their fundamental right to build a 'defensive technology,' intended to counter Saudi Arabia and Israel."

And why should there be impediments to Iran building defensive technology? Why is a weapon a "threat" in the hands of one nation and a "deterrent" in the hands of another? Consider that, along with the fact that American troops have been operating on Iran's western and eastern borders for over a decade. In fact, when it comes to who's a "threat," there's some evidence to suggest that the reason the Quds cooperated with the US in the wake of 9/11 (at least initially, before Tehran's Shiite militias began attacking US troops years later in Iraq), was that Iran feared it was next on Bush's invasion agenda.

Leaving all of that aside, the more immediate question is whether the new sanctions end up derailing the nuclear deal. The accord will almost certainly go into effect, but if implementation is beset by intractable bickering and mutual distrust, one of Obama's defining "achievements" could well disintegrate into a pile of radioactive ashes. More importantly, US-Iran relations could once again backtrack just as Tehran is resurgent on the world stage. 

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Looney's picture

0bama: “Look, I can smother myself with my own pillow!”  ;-)


Took Red Pill's picture

So the US gets to decide who gets weapons and what weapons they are allowed to have? Maybe Iran, a country that has never invaded another country, just wants to be able to defend itself from their new friend in case that friend turns on them.

curbjob's picture
"Obama To Hit New "Friend" Iran With Fresh Sanctions Over Contested Ballistic-Missile Program"


Translation :  Saudi Arabia agrees to put a floor under broke back mountain by cutting oil production .. in exchange for new Iranian sanctions. 

HowdyDoody's picture

Well that deal lasted a long time.

Yanqui speak with forked tongue.

Ghost of PartysOver's picture

Whoop-de do.  Iran is still getting their billions from the nuclear deal.   This is just bucket full of nothing.

FireBrander's picture

I've only interacted with 1 "fresh off the boat" Iranian; a 20-'something woman.


Smart, Sharp, Polite, No body tent, spoke well of her parents, and perfect English even though she was born/raised in Iran.

Hair "fixed', makeup, drop dead beauty...appears as though women are actually worth more than a goat in Iran...amazing...If she's the standard, why all the anger at Iran?

I'm feeling like we should swap "friends"...DUMP the Saudi's for the Iranians.

Independent film on public TV about Iran; daily life of the average people in a city...ice cream and coffee shops, cell phones, modern "nightlife". While they are not fans of Israel, they're not all "Allan's SnackBar!" ready to carry out the wishes of the religious nuts running the country.

I see a real need for "Regime Change"...in WASHINGTON DC...and I'm not just talking about showing Obama the door!

(Hey spelling Nazi's, did I use the right word; woman?)


Chuck Walla's picture

"Maybe Iran, a country that has never invaded another country..."

You must have missed that Iraq-Iran War a few years back.


HowdyDoody's picture

Which part of Iraq invading Iran in 1980 do you not undertand?


BarnacleBill's picture

This seems to be a deliberate lie, presumably originating in some US Armed Forces think-tank. Even Wikipedia, so tolerant of US atrocities, acknowledges that Iraq invaded Iran. It did so with the approval of the US government, and with US arms. During that conflict, the US shot down an Iranian civilian airplane - a deed which was rewarded with medals for the captain and crew.


This latest allegation (the firing of rockets near the US carrier) has been denied by the Iranian government. I wonder if it was intended to be another Gulf of Tonkin provocation. We should never, ever, accept the Western MSM's version of any event.



FireBrander's picture

"the firing of rockets near the US carrier"

It's 2016...where's the video? I mean really, our ships have NO video surveillance?

Doesn't common sense hint, even just a bit, that if an "enemy ship" is approaching, maybe video documentation of what occurs would be usefull as evidence before you decide to start a war?

The 'problem' with video evidence is that it proves one side to be a LIAR...usually, the side that didn't make the video but is making "official statements" about what happened.

FireBrander's picture

Google first, then open mouth....

"The Iran–Iraq War began when Iraq invaded Iran via air and land on 22 September 1980."

Looks like Iran was defending itself against WESTERN MACRO AGGRESSION!


Max Steel's picture

Well UN sanctions against Iran are over after reaching deal. Rest US can do whatever they want with their sanctions. No one cares :)

Happy New Year Eve! 2016 

y3maxx's picture

Obama leads from the 19th green.

R.R.Raskolnikov's picture

...at the afterparty some one asks to Obummer: what is your new resolution? Obummer responds: starting a new war, allowing me to get a another Nobel Peace Prize!

JRobby's picture

Student Government with real money (and bombs)

Is that Mulla wearing sunglasses? How Western!

Chuck Walla's picture

"As long as I am President, ISIS shall never raise it's flag over the eighteenth hole!"

- Braack "Nobel" Obama


indygo55's picture

"an unnamed White House official said"


That tells me the story about the missle 1500 meters away is bullshit. They want sanctions and the American People will be told we NEED sanctions. Everyone except me and those around here will believe we are so fucking exceptional.

fleur de lis's picture

They are absolutely itching for a war. They must know that even a minor attack on Iran would have a disastrous response. So the ships in the region must have disposable crews, nobody "connected" aboard, they're just matches to ignite conflict.

I never understood the Nork thing, either. They are completely hemmed in, worldwide sanctions piled on, yet they can maintain a highly sophisticated weapons program. Where do they get the money for that? A massive army that needs to be trained, fed, housed, and ever at the ready. That's more mountains of money? Where does it come from?

Now they're talking about Iran and the Norks, right in the middle of sky-high tensions with Russia, Syria, and Iran. Could someone please make sense of this? Our leaders are up to no good as usual, but going after Iran again doesn't add up.

thetruthhurts's picture

 Sanctions for a “close call”.

What  will the US do when China throws a missile next to  our destroyer next time it passes one of their  new islands?

Ban I phones?

Kaiser Sousa's picture

lasts gasp of a dead empire...

happy "not" new year...

the storm is here.

Chupacabra-322's picture

The Storm has been here. For a while now.

Ghordius's picture

the storm is always there, has always been. perceptions of the storm may differ, though

as often, there is a lot of debate about offensive versus defensive weapons, the sword and the shield. irrelevant categories. the shield allows you to strike where or when you could not, without it

css1971's picture

New year was on 22nd December. The calendar is wrong.

orangegeek's picture

And while the world is getting more fucked each day, FUCK OFF BARRY is doing comedy skits with Jerry Seinfeld.









_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Well Seinfeld is a Jew after all.

orangegeek's picture

Seinfeld has joined the hollywood ranks of sucking barry's cock dry for a living.  Hollywood is an industry of substance abusing deviants.


Keep your anti-semitism to yourself.

KesselRunin12Parsecs's picture
KesselRunin12Parsecs (not verified) orangegeek Dec 31, 2015 8:23 AM

I don't think he was being 'anti-semitic'. I think he was merely pointing out the veritable cornucopia of talented jewish-American comedians we have in and around Hollywood, Washington DC & New York. Perhaps I read his comment wrong.

__Usury__'s picture
"Political Correctness" Is About Control, Not Etiquette

I think tyler ran a story about this last week........

KesselRunin12Parsecs's picture
KesselRunin12Parsecs (not verified) __Usury__ Dec 31, 2015 9:05 AM

proactive application of control eventually results in lack thereof. Something about sand, fingers, & grip pressure & all that.

Consuelo's picture



There is no such thing as 'anti-semitism'.   It is a ruse, employed to end debate.   The term itself, along with its 'usefulness', is well long past its sell date. 

css1971's picture

Comedian, president, what's the difference? Both are in entertainment.

goldman58's picture

Him and his fucking racist pig of a wife Moooooochele !!!!!!

Save_America1st's picture

gee, I thought Horse-Face and O-Traitor made a deal to fix all this stuff just a few months ago?  Didn't work out huh?  what a fucking shocker.

JustObserving's picture

The Nobel Prize Winner wants to start the New Year ramping up tensions.  US has 7100 nuclear weapons and Iran has 0.  But, apparently, Iran is still a threat to the US.

Using Stuxnet to destroy Iranian equipment and murdering Iranian nuclear scientists are rights allowed to the hegemon of this world.

Neocons have always wanted a war with Iran.  2016 is the year that they may get their wish.

Happy New Year - Peace on earth.

__Usury__'s picture
__Usury__ (not verified) JustObserving Dec 31, 2015 8:08 AM


here is a free speech story........be careful, very careful


''Italian police have opened an investigation after a controversial website published a list of "influential Jews" working in the country. The names of journalists, businessmen, actors and personalities of Jewish faith were published on the Italian page of Radio Islam, a multi-language platform hosting essays from renowned holocaust deniers.''


bamawatson's picture

here is another 'story' ------- Using surveillance video from other area businesses to identify the arsonist, Gary Nathaniel Moore, 37, was arrested and charged with starting the Christmas Day fire that devastated a Houston, Texas mosque. Moore is a devout Muslim who attended this same mosque for years, praying up to five times a day every day of the week.Also up in smoke is the DC Media’s hoped-for anti-GOP Narrative. Before any facts were known, numerous DC Media outlets immediately exploited the tragedy to place the blame for the fire on Donald Trump.CBS News:Advocacy groups believe there has been a spike in anti-Muslim incidents across the United States in recent weeks that can be linked to the mass shooting in California and the inflammatory rhetoric of Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. And they say that Muslims are fearful the backlash could lead to further harassment and violence.CNN:The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on authorities to investigate the fire for an anti-Muslim motive.“Because of the recent spike in hate incidents targeting mosques nationwide, we urge law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this fire,” Mustafaa Carroll, the chapter’s executive director, said in a statement.NBC News:The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on authorities to investigate a possible bias motive in the case, citing what it called a “recent spike in hate incidents targeting mosques nationwide.

Now that a devout Muslim has been charged, the DC Media will forget all about the incident.

KesselRunin12Parsecs's picture
KesselRunin12Parsecs (not verified) Dec 31, 2015 8:03 AM

So, when Obama is out golfing in Hawaii, is Bibi in charge? Or is Bibi just in charge all the time? /rhetorical

Pliskin's picture

Same boss, different face...Dick Cheney is in charge.

Deathrips's picture

The president of what?



_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Let the US shove the nuke deal already!

curbjob's picture

Agreed;  so long as Iran gets to shove the US $ (without the threat of being nuked) before it implodes .

Agreed ?

HoserF16's picture

Obama reminds me of your first girl friend in Junior High..... Bipolar

css1971's picture

Psychotic. Unable to determine reality from fantasy.

Pliskin's picture

Fuck you HoserF16, my first girlfriend in JH was a hot thing called Michelle, cool, big boobs, smoked, could roll a nice joint, gave hand-jobs.  Don't EVER compare her to Obama...although I do hear he gives good hand jobs!

Global Hunter's picture

Is this anything more than a pathetic joke?  What have sanctions acheived in the last 35+ years?  The Iranian Republic has become stronger over that time not weaker.  Are they trying to make themselves look like fools and improve the image of Iran?  Because that is what is happening.

ack's picture

Yes. An observant person would definitely see a pattern. One must expose evil. Before destroying it. Otherwise people don't recognize it. For what it is. Obama does a good job exposing evil. Whether by intent or accident.