The Trump administration on Monday reimposed sanctions on Iran's shipping industry due to its efforts to import ballistic missile technology and other equipment used as part of Tehran's weapons of mass destruction program.
The State Department announced that sanctions will be slapped on the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and a subsidiary corporation based in China, which has helped Iran skirt sanctions in the past. The sanctions on the entities were lifted for the past six months to help Iran import medical goods needed to aid its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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"Now that this generous delay has come to an end, those in the commercial and maritime industries doing business with Iran must use carriers or shipping methods other than IRISL" or risk facing "exposure to U.S. WMD sanctions," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
Iran's shipping sector is key to its import of illicit missile technology and other nuclear proliferation-sensitive technologies tied to the country's atomic weapons program.
"Despite Iran's claims that it will never develop nuclear weapons and associated delivery systems, the Iranian regime has continued to pursue and procure proliferation-sensitive items in violation" of United Nations accords barring such activity, Pompeo said.