The expected sanctions by US Treasury Department against individuals and companies in Iran, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates would be the first set of sanctions against Iran after the historic nuclear deal it reached with Tehran on the latter's nuclear weapons programme.

"The planned action by the Treasury Department... is directed at nearly a dozen companies and individuals in Iran,  Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their alleged role in developing Iran's ballistic-missile programme," a media house reported yesterday.

The Treasury Department is preparing sanctions on two Iran-linked networks helping develop the missile programme. Under the planned restrictions, US or foreign nationals would be barred from doing business with the firms and people in the networks. US banks would also freeze any US-held assets, it said.

The Journal quoted US officials as saying that the Treasury Department maintains the right to sanction Iranian entities allegedly involved in missile development, or those that support rights abuses or international terrorism.

The Iranian government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the possible new sanctions, which are expected to be formally announced this week, according to the financial daily.

It said that Iranian officials have warned the White House in recent months that any such financial penalties would be viewed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a violation of the nuclear accord.

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