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US hits Iran with new sanctions after space rocket launch

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The sanctions freeze all U.S. assets of six companies that support Tehran's missile program. (Iranian Presidency via AP)

President Trump's Treasury Department announced new sanctions Friday against Iran following what it called the "threatening" launch of a space rocket.

The sanctions, which were the second set issued this month, freeze all U.S. assets of six companies that support Tehran's missile program and the development of the Simorgh rocket, which was tested Thursday and could be used to produce an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to the department.

"The U.S. government will continue to aggressively counter Iran's ballistic missile-related activity, whether it be a provocative space launch, its development of threatening ballistic missile systems, or likely support to Yemeni Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia such as occurred this past weekend," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

Iran said the Simorgh, which means "phoenix," was capable of carrying a satellite into space. The State Department charged that the launch violated a U.N. resolution limiting its missile program.

Last week, the Treasury Department announced sanctions on 16 Iranian entities over the country's missile program, a day after Trump certified that Tehran was complying with a U.S.-brokered deal designed to rein in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The new round of sanctions Friday focuses on subsidiaries of the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, which the department said is central to Iran's missile production.

"As a result of this action, all property and interests in property of those designated today subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them," the department said.