The Trump administration on Tuesday issued new sanctions on an Iranian smuggling operation that illicitly imported U.S. electronic devices and other materials into the Islamic Republic, according to the Treasury Department.
The new sanctions are part of a larger cache of economic penalties on Iran that the Trump administration intends to issue in the final months of its first term. Former vice president Joe Biden, if he takes office, is expected to roll back most of these sanctions in a bid to entice the Iranians back to the negotiating table.
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The smuggling ring was used by Iran to fuel its national communications industry, which the United States and European Union have designated as being controlled by Tehran’s military.
"The Iranian regime utilizes a global network of companies to advance its destabilizing military capabilities," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "The United States will continue to take action against those who help to support the regime’s militarization and proliferation efforts."
Some of the electrical components originated in the United States but were laundered through China, according to information provided by the Treasury Department. This includes high-frequency Near Vertical Incidence Skywave antennas, which are routinely used for military communications.