18 Iranians, Groups Hit With Sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on the Trump administration's move to let the nuclear deal continue while its Iran policy review continues (all times local):

8:30 a.m.

The Trump administration is slapping new sanctions on 18 Iranian individuals, groups and networks over non-nuclear behavior such as support for ballistic missiles development.

The move comes the day after the administration certified to Congress that Iran is technically complying with the nuclear deal and can continue enjoying nuclear sanctions relief.

The Treasury Department is targeting seven groups and five people that aided Iran's military or its elite Revolutionary Guard. The sanctions also target what the U.S. says is a transnational criminal group based in Iran and three people associated with it.

The State Department is also targeting two more groups associated with Iran's ballistic missiles program.

The sanctions freeze any assets the targets may have in the U.S. and prevent Americans from doing business with them.

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3:00 a.m.

Senior U.S. officials say the Trump administration is certifying to Congress for a second time that Iran is technically complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. But they say Iran is "unquestionably in default of the spirit" of the agreement.

The officials say the Trump administration is also extending Iran's relief from nuclear-related sanctions while a long-running review of Iran policy drags on. The officials briefed reporters on a conference call on condition of anonymity.

The administration had faced a midnight deadline to say whether Iran was complying. The decision preserves the status quo even though President Donald Trump says it's a bad deal that mustn't stand as is.

Officials say they're working to address the deal's flaws and to punish Tehran for troublesome non-nuclear behavior.

(KA)