At the very same press conference where President Obama announced the lifting of sanctions on Iran that had been imposed on the country because of its nuclear program, he also announced the introduction of a new round of punitive measures on Teheran

It is important to understand that these sanctions have nothing to do with Iran’s previous attempt to produce a nuclear weapon, but were imposed over its ballistic missile program.

Despite a ban which had been instituted by the UN, Iran had tested a precision-guided ballistic missile in October of 2015. It could be used in theory to carry a nuclear warhead.

For 11 entities and people linked to this missile test, the US is now cutting off all access to the American banking system. The sanctions target 6 companies based in the UAE and China as well as 5 Iranian nationals.

The Iranian tests were a direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 which decides:

“that Iran shall not acquire an interest in any commercial activity in another State involving uranium mining, production or use of nuclear materials and technology as listed in INFCIRC/254/Rev.9/Part 1, in particular uranium- enrichment and reprocessing activities,  all heavy-water activities or technology- related to ballistic missiles capable  of delivering nuclear weapons, and further decide that all States shall prohibit such investment in territories under their  jurisdiction by Iran, its nationals, and entities incorporated in Iran or subject to its jurisdiction, or by persons or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or by entities owned or controlled by them.“

Iran’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan defiantly claimed that the new sanctions would be useless. “We will prove it in practice by unveiling new missile achievements“, he told the press.

On 10 or 11 October 2015, Iran tested a missile that the US said was “inherently capable” of carrying a nuclear warhead. Therefore sanctions are in order.

It is however, a bit of political theatre to avoid imposing the sanctions until after the date when the nuclear deal was done and dusted.