The Trump administration on Friday continued its last-minute push to apply new sanctions on the adversarial regimes in Iran, China, and Cuba, solidifying a pressure campaign that will give the incoming Biden administration a range of options for dealing with the ongoing threats posed by these nations.
New sanctions were slapped on Iran for its arms proliferation in the region and efforts to skirt measures aimed at blocking the country from importing steel. Several Cuban and Chinese officials were also sanctioned for widespread human rights abuses, according to information provided by the State and Treasury Departments.
All of the measures are aimed at keeping up pressure on American foes as the Biden administration enters office and decides how it will approach diplomacy with these countries. The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday that new Iran sanctions are meant to provide the next administration with a range of tools to entice the Islamic Republic into negotiating over its contested nuclear program.
New sanctions will hit Iran's Marine Industries Organization, Aerospace Industries Organization, and the Iran Aviation Industries Organization "for engaging in activities that materially contribute to the supply, sale, or transfer, directly or indirectly, to or from Iran, or for the use in or benefit of Iran, of arms or related material," according to the State Department. A separate set of measures target several shipping companies in Iran and the United Arab Emirates that helped Tehran skirt existing sanctions on its steel trade.
Six Chinese officials will face sanctions for the Communist Party's crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, where a draconian national security law enabled the arrest of more than 50 leading dissidents last week, including an American lawyer. The State Department said China's implementation of the national security law erodes "Hong Kong's freedoms and democratic processes," and that it "will continue to use all tools at our disposable to hold those responsible to account."
The administration also applied sanctions on Cuba's Ministry of Interior and senior officials who work there for their role in "serious human rights abuses" under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The sanctions follow on the heels of the outgoing administration's decision earlier this week to label Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism.