00:03 GMT06 April 2020
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    Iran stated on 29 August that a rocket had exploded at its Imam Khomeini Space Centre due to a malfunction during testing, rejecting claims that the incident had been "manipulated" from outside.

    The US has imposed sanctions on the Iranian Space Agency, Space Research Centre, and Astronautics Research Institute, the US Treasury said in a statement.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated that Iran’s space and research agencies were sanctioned for "engaging in proliferation-sensitive activities". He also stated that this is the first time that the US sanctions Iran’s civilian space agency for activities advancing the ballistic missile programme.

    The statement comes just days after Washington imposed sanctions on five people and five entities allegedly involved in two covert networks that supply Iran’s missile programme.

    Relations between the United States and Iran have worsened since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement last spring. Since then, the United States has announced that it intends to bring down Iran's sale of oil to zero and has reintroduced sanctions on almost all major sectors of the Middle Eastern nation's economy.

    On the first anniversary of the US withdrawal, Tehran announced that it would start abandoning some parts of its nuclear obligations every 60 days unless European signatories to the deal ensure its interests under the agreement.

    The situation worsened this summer, when several tankers suffered attacks in the Persian Gulf area, prompting the US to increase its military presence there. While Washington and its allies have blamed Iran for the attacks, Tehran has rejected all the accusations.

    sanctions, US Treasury, United States, Iran
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