The Treasury Department has announced that the Trump administration is issuing sanctions against Iran for its ballistic missile program, which the U.S. intelligence community estimates could be used to carry nuclear weapons over great distances.
The new sanctions will be leveled on two senior defense officials of Iran, including Morteza Farasatpour, the one who facilitated the sale of explosives and provided other support to Syria and Rahim Ahmadi, an organization director who’s responsible for Iran’s solid-fueled ballistic missile program. Ahmadi was sanctioned for his role in coordinating Iran’s ballistic missile flight tests, as well as research and development activities pertaining to the program.
The Obama administration was hesitant in issuing sanctions against Iran before for fear of upsetting the Iranians that might lead to complications in the nuclear agreement between the two states.
The Trump administration, in contrast, is firm on issuing sanctions, sparing no one. A Chinese-based network supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program via “millions of dollars” worth of missile-applicable items has also been lodged with new sanctions. Chinese national Ruan Runling was sanctioned for operating a network that has provided support to Iranian industries working on the ballistic missile program, including guidance systems. Three associated Chinese companies were also specifically targeted for proliferation activities in support of a key designated Iranian defense entity.
Another Iran-based entity known as Matin Sanat which is supporting Iran’s missile program was sanctioned as well. Manit Sanat has helped an Iranian chemical company responsible for producing Iran’s liquid-fueled ballistic missile industry.
The fresh wave of sanctions follows Director of National Intelligence Dan Carlos’s admission in Congress that Iran is continuing to boost its ballistic missile program, including inter-continental ballistic missiles that can deliver a nuclear payload.
A Trump senior official who spoke to Washington Free Beacon on condition of anonymity said that the inter-agency actions today show that the Trump administration is developing a comprehensive strategy to counter Iran’s threat. He also said that the Trump administration is determined to hold Tehran accountable for its dangerous and aggressive behavior that is destabilizing the Middle East. The official reiterated, though, President Trump’s commitment to stand by Iranian people, and not the regime that has oppressed them for so long.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said that aside from the Trump’s administration’s commitment to countering Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, it is also showing much concern for Iran’s support to the Assad regime. He also said that the U.S. will remain vigilant when it comes to Iran.
The latest sanctions coincide with Congress’s release of a semi-annual report detailing Iran’s human rights abuses. The State Department continues to closely monitor Iran’s systematic human rights abuses, including the imprisonment and torture of dissidents.