The United States imposed sanctions on Thursday on five Iranian entities over their involvement in developing ballistic missiles and signaled that more punitive measures are in play in response to the Islamic Republic’s crackdown of anti-government protests.
The Daily Mail reported that the five designated companies are all subsidiaries of Iran’s Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group (SBIG), which is part of the Iranian Defense Ministry.
U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, linked the measure to the ongoing anti-government protests, arguing that Iran ought to spend more on public welfare rather than sponsoring foreign wars and terrorism.
“These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program, which the Iranian regime prioritizes over the economic well-being of the Iranian people,” Mnuchin said. “We will not hesitate to call out the regime’s economic mismanagement, and diversion of significant resources to fund threatening missile systems at the expense of its citizenry,” he added.
Munich continued: “As the Iranian people suffer, their government and the IRGC fund foreign militants, terrorist groups, and human rights abuses.” He also vowed that “The United States will continue to decisively counter the Iranian regime’s malign activity, including additional sanctions targeting human rights abuses.”
Earlier, the State Department had warned that Iranian officials involved in the arrest or killing of protesters would be held accountable. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the deaths to date and the arrests of at least one thousand Iranians,” U.S. spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
“We have ample authorities to hold accountable those who commit violence against protesters, contribute to censorship, or steal from the people of Iran,” she added. “To the regime’s victims, we say: ‘You will not be forgotten.’”
Shahid is already under U.S. sanctions and the new designations ensure its subsidiaries are punished, too. Under the sanctions, any assets that the firms hold in places under U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen and U.S. citizens are prohibited from conducting business with them. Moreover, foreign institutions who work with the companies could be barred from the U.S. financial system.
Last month, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, presented evidence in the form of missile parts with logos suggesting they were manufactured by Shahid. According to Haley, the fragments were recovered after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels fired missiles at Saudi Arabia.
[Photo: Tasnim News]