US sanctions strike Iran’s missiles, Guards

Around 25 organizations and individuals aiding Tehran’s destabilizing acts blocked

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The US Treasury Department on Friday issued sanctions against organizations and individuals aiding Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as for acting for or on behalf of, or providing support to, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF).

The statement by the US Treasury’s Department of the Treasury’s Office said: “This action reflects the United States’ commitment to enforcing sanctions on Iran with respect to its ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities in the region and is fully consistent with the United States’ commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

According to Reuters, 13 individuals and 12 entities based in the Gulf, Lebanon and China come under the new US sanctions.

The OFAC has designated several networks and supporters of Iran’s ballistic missile procurement, including a critical Iranian procurement agent and eight individuals and entities in his Iran- and China-based network, an Iranian procurement company and its Gulf-based network, and five individuals and entities that are part of an Iran-based procurement network, which was designated on January 17, 2016.

Individual providing procurement and other services on behalf of the IRGC-QF were also in the sanctions list.

This action was taken pursuant to an Executive Order, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and supporters of such activity.

These individuals have been procuring controlled and dual-use technology and materials for over a decade to support Iran’s ballistic missile programs. They allegedly coordinate the procurement of dual-use and other goods for the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG) through intermediary companies that obfuscate that the goods are for and will support Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Two Iran-based companies - East Star Company and Ofog Sabze Darya Company - used for shipments of dual-use and missile-related items to Iran, have also been named by the US Treasury Department.

Hasan Dehghan Ebrahimi, an IRGC-QF official based in Beirut, Lebanon, who maintains direct ties to senior IRGC-QF officials in Tehran, was designated for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC-QF.

Ebrahimi had facilitated cash transfers to Hezbollah worth millions of dollars, including through US-designated Hezbollah construction firm Wa’ad Company.

“Iran’s continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide, and to the United States. Today’s action is part of Treasury’s ongoing efforts to counter Iranian malign activity abroad that is outside the scope of the JCPOA,” said Acting OFAC Director John E. Smith.

“We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behavior.”

The statement goes on to add that, “As a result of this action, all property and interests in property of those designated today subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.”

The Iran-related sanctions the United States imposed on Friday were “in the pipeline” before President Donald Trump took office, but were activated in light of recent events, the White House said on Friday.

“These kinds of sanctions don’t happen quickly but I think the timing of them was clearly in reaction to what we’ve seen over the last couple days,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters. “We knew we had these options available to us because they had been worked through the process ... They were in the pipeline.”

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