US announces new sanctions against top Iran officials, metals industry

The United States on Friday announced fresh sanctions against eight top Iranian officials it accused of working to destabilise the region, as well as against more than a dozen leading producers of metals in the Islamic republic.

“As a result of these actions, we will cut off billions of dollars of support to the Iranian regime,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at a White House briefing.

Among the senior Iranian officials targeted in the new measures were Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, the Iranian armed forces deputy chief of staff and Gholamreza Soleimani, the head of the Basij militia, a volunteer force loyal to the regime.

This combination of file pictures shows Ali Shamkhani (L), secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran; and Gholamreza Soleimani, a senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who commands Basij forces. — AFPThis combination of file pictures shows Ali Shamkhani (L), secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran; and Gholamreza Soleimani, a senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who commands Basij forces. — AFP

The US Treasury also slapped sanction on 17 Iranian metals producers and mining companies which it said generated billions of dollars in revenue.

The sanctions also included a network of three entities that are based in China and the Seychelles as well as a vessel “involved in the purchase, sale, and transfer of Iranian metals products”, the Treasury said in a statement.

Mnuchin said the officials and companies were being targeted in response to Iranian ballistic strikes targeting Iraqi military bases where US forces are stationed. That attack was launched after a US drone strike in Baghdad killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Mnuchin said that the measures hitting Iran’s economy “will continue until the regime stops the funding of global terrorism and commits to never having nuclear weapons”.

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