The United States administration on Tuesday issued fresh economic sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missiles programme. Washington DC has listed 18 entities, individuals and groups or networks in its penalty for aiding the Iranian military and their role in the country’s ballistic missile programme.

“The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran’s malign activities across the Middle East, which undermine regional stability, security, and prosperity,” the State Department said in a statement. “Iran continues to support terrorist groups such as the Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad that threaten Israel and stability in the Middle East.”

The US State Department said Iran’s activities weakened any “positive contributions” from the 2015 nuclear accord, under which Tehran had agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from sanctions.

‘The sanctions violate the spirit of the deal’

Calling’s Washington’s sanctions “worthless”, Tehran said it will retaliate by imposing sanctions “on a number of American natural and legal persons who have taken steps against the Iranian people and other Muslim nations in the region”, Reuters reported.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the sanctions were an attempt to “poison the atmosphere”. “It violates the spirit of the [nuclear] deal,” he told CBS. “We will look at it and see whether it violates the letter of the deal, and we will act accordingly.”