Less than 24 hours after the prisoner exchange the Obama administration announced Sunday that it was imposing new sanctions on Iran for violating United Nations resolutions against ballistic missile tests.
The announcement also came one day after “Implementation Day,” when the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog verified that Iran has successfully shrunk its nuclear program and open for inspection.
The new sanctions by the US Treasury Department target 11 companies and individuals who have been involved in procuring ballistic materials for Iran’s weapons program. Iran and the US have disagreed on wether these sanctions violate the nuclear accord. The Wall Street Journal wrote last week:
“Iranian officials have warned the White House in recent months that any such financial penalties would be viewed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a violation of the nuclear accord.
Senior U.S. officials have said the Treasury retained a right under the agreement to blacklist Iranian entities allegedly involved in missile development, as well as those that support international terrorism and human-rights abuses. Officials view those activities as separate from the nuclear deal.”
Obama takes victory lap in the Cabinet Room, says Iran deal in effect, release of Americans show diplomacy success pic.twitter.com/1JUjWF3Vib
— Carol Lee (@carolelee) January 17, 2016
Obama's got some nerve talking in the Cabinet Room about Americans being unjustly imprisoned by Iran. Has he forgot about Guantanamo Bay?
— Dave Griffiths (@DaiGriff2015) January 17, 2016
On Sunday President Obama delivered a statement in the Cabinet room about Iran’s new sanctions. Obama beings speaking at 30:53 and at 40:50 he begins discussing the sanctions.
On Sunday, a senior United States official said that “our detained U.S. citizens have been released and that those who wished to depart Iran have left.” The Washington Post also released a statement confirming that Mr. Rezaian, a reporter for the newspaper, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, had left Iran.
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, did not address the prisoner swap on Sunday. At a news conference, he said that since the sanctions were lifted, the door had opened for foreign investments in the country, even by American companies.
“They can invest here anytime, but they have their own obstacles to do so,” Mr. Rouhani said. He did not comment on whether the lifting of the sanctions after two years of talks with world powers, including the United States, would lead to more cooperation by Iran in Syria. Instead, he promised Iran a new and better future.