WASHINGTON — The Trump administration signaled on Wednesday that it would not, for now, jettison the Iran nuclear deal, despite the president’s harsh criticisms of the agreement during the campaign.
But while acknowledging that the deal would remain in place, the administration imposed modest new sanctions against several Iranian individuals and four other organizations, including a China-based network that supplied missile-related items to a key Iranian defense entity.
“The U.S. and its partners will continue to apply pressure on Iran to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone in Iran,” said Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, who will be traveling with President Trump to the Middle East at the end of the week.
The Trump administration has said that it is continuing to study the Iran nuclear deal. But more than three months into the administration, Mr. Trump has softened his criticism.
The announcement came two days before Iranian elections, and just ahead of Mr. Trump’s first overseas trip as president.
And it marked another decision by Mr. Trump to stick with existing arrangements and try to alter them around the edges.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that among those targeted for sanctions were Morteza Farasatpour and Rahim Ahmadi, two senior Iranian defense officials. Mr. Farasatpour coordinated the sale and delivery of explosives and other material for Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, while Mr. Ahmadi directs the organization responsible for Iran’s solid-fueled ballistic missile program, according to the Treasury Department.
The Treasury also designated sanctions on a network of companies associated with a Chinese national, Ruan Runling, that supports Syria and supplies technology and financing to aid Iran’s missile program.
“This Administration is committed to countering Iran’s destabilizing behavior, such as Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and support to the Assad regime,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement. “It is alarming that individuals involved with Iran’s missile program are assisting the brutal Assad regime, and we are taking action to curtail this behavior.”