Relations between Washington and Tehran have deteriorated sharply since Donald Trump took office last month promising a tough line on what he sees as Iranian belligerency towards US interests and allies.
Hours after the new US sanctions were announced, Pentagon chief James Mattis charged that Iran was “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”
The new sanctions are the first of Trump’s presidency and target what US officials say is Iran’s weapons procurement network in Lebanon and China.
They are a response to Iran’s test launch of a medium-range ballistic missile on last Sunday as well as its support for Yemeni rebels who attacked a Saudi frigate earlier this week. The Revolutionary Guards said that the missiles deployed for Saturday’s exercise would be short range ones - up to 75km.