The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions targeting Iran's ballistic missile program, one day after Tehran tested a satellite-launch rocket.
According to a report in the AFP news agency, the U.S. Treasury singled out six companies owned or controlled by Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which it said was central to the Islamic Republic's missile program.
The companies’ assets in the U.S. were frozen and U.S. citizens have been barred from dealing with them.
Foreign financial institutions could face punitive measures if they deal with the sanctioned entities, added the Treasury.
SHIG was already under UN, U.S. and European Union sanctions.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions "underscore the United States' deep concerns with Iran's continued development and testing of ballistic missiles and other provocative behavior."
He warned that Washington would "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."
According to the Treasury, "space launch vehicles use technologies that are closely related to those of an intercontinental ballistic missile and this launch represents a threatening step by Iran."
On Thursday, Iranian state television broadcast footage of the takeoff of the spacecraft from the Imam Khomeini space center, named after the late founder of the Islamic Republic.
The report said the vehicle, named Simorgh after a bird in Iranian mythology, was capable of propelling a satellite weighing 250 kilograms (550 pounds) to an altitude of 500 kilometers (300 miles) above earth.
Hours after reports of the launching were made public, the U.S. Senate voted nearly unanimously to slap new sanctions on Iran.
The bill, which also includes sanctions on Russia and North Korea, was approved by a margin of 98-2.
The sanctions package imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure would apply terrorism sanctions to the country's Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have blasted the section of the bill that sanctions them, threatening to target U.S. military bases in the Middle East should it pass.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)