February 3, 2017 / 6:05 PM / in 2 years

New Iran sanctions 'in pipeline' before Trump took office: White House

A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives of the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during the Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Iran-related sanctions the United States imposed on Friday were “in the pipeline” before President Donald Trump took office, but were activated in light of recent events, the White House said on Friday.

“These kinds of sanctions don’t happen quickly but I think the timing of them was clearly in reaction to what we’ve seen over the last couple days,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters. “We knew we had these options available to us because they had been worked through the process ... They were in the pipeline.”

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by James Dalgleish

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