US imposes new Iran sanctions

Elias Hubbard
November 21, 2020

In a separate statement on Wednesday, Pompeo defended his sanctions regime against Iran as being "extraordinarily effective", seemingly arguing for their continuity into the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The United States on Wednesday announced a sweeping new sanctions package on Iran targeting a foundation controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Washington accused Iranian officials of human rights abuses a year after a deadly crackdown on anti-government demonstrators.

The Treasury also imposed sanctions against an Iranian charity linked to the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and almost a third of its 160 holdings.

Some analysts have said Trump's piling-on of additional USA sanctions appeared to be aimed at making it harder for Biden to re-engage with Iran after taking office.

Additionally, the spokesman for Iran's mission to the United Nations in NY, called the new USA sanctions "a sign of desperation" by Trump's administration.

"Reducing that pressure is a risky choice, bound to weaken new partnerships for peace in the region and strengthen only the Islamic Republic", Mr. Pompeo said in a statement.

In May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reimposed harsh sanctions against Iran.

US-Iranian tensions have risen since Trump two years ago abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and restored harsh economic sanctions created to force Tehran into a wider negotiation on curbing its nuclear program, development of ballistic missiles and support for regional proxy forces.

The US State Department also designated two Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials, accusing them of involvement in the killing of almost 150 people in the city of Mahshahr during last year's crackdown.

The US slapped new sanctions on Iran on Wednesday, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement defending the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign where he boasted about the damage it has done to Iran's economy. "An adversary may conclude that if there is no negotiating path out of significant economic pressure, they may escalate militarily, a dynamic that already seems to be in play with respect to Iran". While the easing of sanctions under the nuclear deal allowed Iran to expand its defense budget by 30% between 2016 to 2018, the Trump sanctions forced a 25% cut in defense spending past year, he said. "The regime's greatest fear is that sanctions will remain". Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted last month that "more economic warfare against Iran will bring the USA less - and not more - influence".

"We're confident that if pressure is maintained, the regime will enter into a negotiation next year". Iran analysts say the Bonyad Mostazafan, while posing as a charitable organization, is run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite military organization designated by the U.S.as a terrorist group.

The Treasury Department said it was freezing any USA interests of the Foundation of the Oppressed, officially a charitable organization for the poor that has sweeping interests across the Iranian economy including in oil and mining.

Reacting to the United States blacklisting, Fattah tweeted, "The struggle of the declining USA government can not impact the foundation's anti-sanction activities and its productivity".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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