US blacklists Iran IRGC units in wake of missile tests

The US Treasury named units involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program to its sanctions blacklist

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The US Treasury named units involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program to its sanctions blacklist Thursday, two weeks after the country ran missile tests that Washington labeled “provocative and destabilizing.”

The Treasury placed sanctions on Shahid Nuri Industries and Shahid Movahed Industries, both units of the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group the US says is responsible for Iran’s liquid-fueled ballistic missile program.

It also sanctioned the Al-Ghadir Missile Command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which it said appears to have operational control of the country’s ballistic missiles.

The US actions were based on broader sanctions over the country’s alleged ties to terror activities. Sanctions tied to its nuclear activities were lifted in January as part of a deal with major powers.

The move came after the IRGC conducted ballistic missile tests over March 8-9, which Tehran argued did not violate the deal over its nuclear program or UN resolutions barring the country from launching ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapons.

“Iran’s ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism pose a continuing threat to the region, to the United States, and to our partners worldwide,” said Adam Szubin, Treasury’s acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“We will continue to use all of our tools to counteract Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for terrorism, including through sanctions.”

The sanctions freeze any assets of the listed entity under US jurisdiction and ban any business with them by US companies or individuals.

In addition, the US blacklisted British businessmen Jeffrey John James Ashfield and John Edward Meadows, as well as companies linked to them, for their attempts to sell aircraft and parts to already blacklisted Mahan Air, the country’s second largest airline that is closely tied to the IRGC.

Mahan Air “continues to support the Iranian government’s destabilizing actions in the region by conducting flights to Syria in order to transport fighters,” the Treasury said.

In Tehran, the foreign ministry blasted the new US moves.

“The Iranian ballistic missile program has nothing to do with the nuclear agreement and does not violate” the UN Security Council resolution, said spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari.

“This program is completely defensive and no action can deprive the Islamic Republic of its legitimate and legal rights to strengthen its defense capacity and its national security.”

On Sunday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States of continuing to penalize the country despite the January deal that lifted sanctions tied to Tehran’s agreeing to limits on its nuclear program.

The United States has lifted sanctions “on paper,” he said, “but they are using roundabout paths to prevent the Islamic republic from achieving its targets.”

“They have said they lifted the sanctions... but, in fact, they are working to prevent the lifting of sanctions from taking effect,” he added.

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