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White House delays imposing new sanctions on Iran: WSJ
January 1, 2016 / 12:11 AM / 2 years ago

White House delays imposing new sanctions on Iran: WSJ

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks to reporters before signing a federal Highway Trust Fund bill into law in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington July 31, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House has delayed imposing new financial sanctions on Iran over its ballistic-missile program, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Journal, citing U.S. officials, said the Obama administration was preparing to sanction nearly a dozen companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their role in developing Iran’s ballistic-missile program.

The U.S. sanctions were expected to be formally announced this week, the newspaper said.

Sources familiar with the situation confirmed to Reuters that the United States was preparing sanctions.

The Obama administration is committed to combating Iran’s missile program and the sanctions being developed by the U.S. Treasury Department remain on the table, the Journal reported on Thursday, citing U.S. officials.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the recent shootings in San Bernardino, after meeting with victims' families at Indian Springs High School in San Bernardino, California December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

But U.S. officials offered no definitive timeline for when the sanctions would be imposed, the newspaper said. At one point, they were scheduled to be announced on Wednesday morning in Washington, according to a notification the White House sent to Congress, the Journal reported.

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he holds his end of the year news conference at the White House in Washington, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Imposing such penalties would be legal under the landmark nuclear agreement forged between global powers and Iran in July, the officials said, according to the Journal.

Iranian officials have said the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, would view such penalties as violating the nuclear accord.

U.S. officials have said the Treasury Department retains a right under the nuclear deal to blacklist Iranian entities suspected of involvement in missile development.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered his defense minister on Thursday to expand Iran’s missile program, in defiance of the U.S. threat to impose sanctions over a missile test Iran carried out in October.

Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Bill Rigby and Leslie Adler

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