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US sanctions suppliers to Iran's ballistic missile programme

Treasury Department says sanctions "reinforce" US commitment to prevent Iran from developing ballistic missiles
The Treasury Department accuses the companies of obtaining supplies form China and giving them to Iran's missile programme.
The Treasury Department accuses the companies of obtaining supplies from China and giving them to Iran's missile programme (AFP/File photo)
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Washington

The United States on Wednesday announced sanctions targeting several Iran-based entities it says are involved in procuring supplies for Tehran's nuclear programme.

The move "reinforces" the US's commitment to preventing Iran from developing ballistic missiles, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

"While the United States continues to seek Iran's return to full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we will not hesitate to target those who support Iran’s ballistic missile program," the Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism Brian Nelson said.

"We will also work with other partners in the region to hold Iran accountable for its actions, including gross violations of the sovereignty of its neighbors."

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The sanctions target Iranian national Mohammad Ali Hosseini and his "network of companies" as suppliers of the programme. The Treasury Department accuses the companies of obtaining supplies from China using falsified documents. The supplies were then given to Iran's missile programme.

The announcement follows an Iranian missile attack on Erbil, Iraq, earlier this month, when a dozen ballistic missiles were launched from Iranian territory toward Iraq. Most of them hit a farm 30km north of Erbil, Kurdish officials said.

Iran had claimed responsibility for the 13 March missile strikes. It alleged the missiles targeted Mossad sites in Erbil, saying Iran's security and peace is a "red line" that no one is allowed to threaten.

A senior Iranian official previously told MEE that the strike was in response to a previous Israeli attack launched from Iraqi Kurdistan on a drone factory in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz.

The sanctions come at a time when the US and Iran are close to an agreement on returning to the nuclear deal which former President Donald Trump unilaterally exited in 2018.

However, one of the last sticking points to a mutual return to the agreement appears to be the US designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Iran has said the delisting of the IRGC is a "red line" for Tehran, while Washington's special envoy for Iran Robert Malley said on Sunday that the group will remain sanctioned even with a nuclear deal.

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