December 31, 2015 / 11:26 PM / in 2 years

White House delays imposing new sanctions on Iran: Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House has delayed imposing new financial sanctions on Iran over its ballistic-missile program, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he holds his end of the year news conference at the White House in Washington, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

On Wednesday, the Journal, citing U.S. officials, said the Obama administration was preparing to sanction nearly a dozen companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their role in developing Iran’s ballistic-missile program.

The U.S. sanctions were expected to be formally announced this week, the newspaper said.

Sources familiar with the situation confirmed to Reuters that the United States was preparing sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered his defense minister on Thursday to expand Iran’s missile program, in defiance of the U.S. threat to impose sanctions over a missile test Iran carried out in October.

Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Bill Rigby

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