Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced updated sanctions on Iran's construction sector, which he claims has links to terrorism. The US deferred sanctions on other sectors.
The United States said on Thursday it had enforced sanctions on Iran's construction sector and trade in four materials used in its arms productions, even though it had also deferred other punishments so as to let foreign companies maintain non-proliferation work in the region.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo felt that the Middle Eastern country's construction sector was heavily influenced by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an organization which the US classifies as a terrorist group.
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In addition, Pompeo acknowledged four "strategic materials" as being used in relation with nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs, making trade in them subject to sanctions.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement: "With these determinations, the United States will have additional authorities to prevent Iran from acquiring strategic materials for the IRGC, its construction sector, and its proliferation programs."
Putting the squeeze on Iran
Pompeo has consistently backed President Donald Trump's maximum pressure campaign on Tehran and these latest actions are a clear attempt to stymie Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Ortagus said the move "will help preserve oversight of Iran's civil nuclear program, reduce proliferation risks, constrain Iran's ability to shorten its 'breakout time' to a nuclear weapon, and prevent the regime from reconstituting sites for proliferation-sensitive purposes."
Another official document highlighted the four materials as: stainless steel 304L tubes; MN40 manganese brazing foil; MN70 manganese brazing foil; and stainless steel CrNi60WTi ESR + VAR (chromium, nickel, 60 percent tungsten, titanium, electro-slag remelting, vacuum arc remelting).
jsi/aw Reuters, dpa, AP)