Published: Fri, January 22, 2016
World | By Paul Elliott

Iran to Push On With Missile Program After U.S. Sanctions

In another development Sunday, Obama announced that the USA and Iran had settled a long-standing financial dispute over $400 million in Iranian money that dates back more than three decades.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting economic and trade sanctions.

The article pointed out that Teheran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had said new sanctions under any pretext would constitute a breach of the nuclear deal.

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. marine Amir Hekmati and pastor Saeed Abedini were sent immediately to Germany en route to the United States, while Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari chose to remain in Iran. For Iran, the move lifts Western economic sanctions that have been in place for years, unlocking access to $100 billion in frozen assets and unleashing new opportunities for its battered economy.

Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said Monday that Iran will respond by boosting efforts in its legal ballistic missile program and promoting its defense capabilities. He said it shows a "weakness" in Washington and that if he were elected president, Iran would not dare detain Americans or face dire consequences.

A day after nuclear-related sanctions were suspended, the USA imposed new sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile programme, the Treasury announced on Sunday.

"This is a good day", Obama said in a statement from the White House.

Iran called the new sanctions imposed by the United States on its ballistic missile program illegitimate. The journalist's release occurred just hours after a controversial nuclear deal between the United States and Iran went into effect.

Obama said the test was a violation of Iran's "international obligations".

Earlier, Rouhani in his letter to Khamenei, which was published January 18, provided details on the recent implementation of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, and briefed him on achievements on the deal.

During his speech, the president also said that a fifth USA citizen student, Matthew Trevithick, imprisoned by Iran was released as well separately Saturday.

Diplomats from the United States and Iran worked for more than a year in negotiating the complex prisoner swap, officials said.

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