The United States blacklisted five Iran- and Iraq-based companies and 15 individuals on Thursday for supporting terrorist groups, its third round of sanctions on Iranian targets in the last two weeks even as Tehran battles the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, the US Treasury Department accused those targeted of supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Quds Force elite foreign paramilitary and espionage arm and of transferring lethal aid to Iran-backed militias in Iraq such as Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, all of which Washington deems foreign terrorist organizations.
Treasury designates vast network of IRGC-QF officials and front companies in Iraq, Iran https://t.co/sjKniyLUZ1— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) March 26, 2020
The Pentagon blamed Kataib Hezbollah for a March 11 rocket attack that killed one British and two US personnel in Iraq.
US officials say they plan to keep sanctioning Iran to try to force it to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities despite the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 2,234 people in Iran.
Accused of malign activities
#Covid19 ravages the world, sparing no nation.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 26, 2020
Even the world's largest economy needs others to help it fight the pandemic, yet refuses to halt its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran.
Does the US want a “forever pandemic"?
Moral imperative to stop observing the bully's sanctions. pic.twitter.com/4cp8wBjsKz
Humanitarian supplies are exempt from sanctions Washington reimposed on Tehran after President Donald Trump abandoned Iran's 2015 multilateral deal to limit its nuclear program.
However, broader US sanctions deter many firms from humanitarian trade with Iran.
The United States and Switzerland this year finalized a Swiss channel to get humanitarian goods to Iran. As of March 19, one transaction had been processed.
Separately, Washington renewed a sanctions waiver letting Iraq import electricity from Iran but vowed to blacklist anyone who used it to help terrorist groups.