The United States has leveled new sanctions on several individuals and entities found to be abetting Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, as well as its efforts to evade sanctions and support terrorism, the White House and Treasury Department announced early Friday.
The sanctions are meant to clamp down on "Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, sanctions evasion efforts, and support for terrorism," the Treasury Department said in a statement announcing the new designations.
At least six of the new sanctions targets were hit for aiding the proliferation of "weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters," a sign that Tehran has not stopped its clandestine efforts to procure a nuclear weapon despite ongoing talks with Western nations that have provided Iran with many billions of dollars in economic relief.
The Treasury Department additionally "identified two aliases used by a previously sanctioned key Iranian missile proliferator," according to the statement, more proof that Tehran is still attempting to skirt sanctions blocking its acquisition of nuclear-related equipment.
Officials at the Treasury Department and White House said the measures are fair and consistent with ongoing dialogues taking place during the nuclear negotiations, which were recently extended through November due to the inability to reach an agreement.
"Treasury’s action against over 25 entities and individuals—who are involved in expanding Iran’s proliferation program, supporting terrorism in the region, and helping Iran evade U.S. and international sanctions—reflects our continuing determination to take action against anyone, anywhere, who violates our sanctions," David Cohen, the under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
While the United States has promised to release another $2.8 billion to Iran under the extension agreement, Cohen said this would take place in conjunction with the enforcement of sanctions.
"During this JPOA extension period, as we fulfill our commitment to provide targeted sanctions relief, we remain committed to enforcing existing sanctions against Iran," Cohen said.
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden struck a similar tone, reiterating the U.S. commitment to negotiations with Iran.
"Just as we announced these measures and continue to enforce pre-existing sanctions on Iran, the United States remains committed to working with our P5+1 partners toward a long-term, comprehensive solution that provides confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful," Hayden said in a statement. "Our actions today and since the start of the talks are consistent with our commitments under the Joint Plan of Action, which provided limited relief of certain sanctions in exchange for Iranian steps that halted its nuclear program and rolled it back in key respects."
In addition to sanctioning those aiding Iran’s nuclear program and terrorism efforts, the Treasury Department designated five individuals and entities "in connection with Iran’s support for terrorism."
Another three individuals and two entities "tied to Iran’s energy industry" also were slapped with sanctions, as were six vessels that have likely been helping Iran illegally skirt sanctions on its oil industry.
Another sanctioned entity was caught helping Iran’s Central Bank and the Iranian government illegitimately obtain U.S. currency.
"As a result of today’s action, U.S. persons are now generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the designated parties listed below and all property and interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction in which the designees below have an interest in are blocked," said the Treasury Department. "In addition, foreign persons that are found to be facilitating deceptive transactions for any persons subject to Iran-related sanctions, such as those listed today, could themselves be exposed to sanctions under E.O. 13608."