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US imposes sweeping new sanctions on Iran

By Lalit K Jha
September 22, 2020 00:21 IST
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United States President Donald Trump on Monday restored the United Nations arms embargo on Iran and imposed sweeping new sanctions against Tehran, targeting Iran-related conventional arms transfers, several high-profile individuals and government bodies.


'Today, I am taking new actions to restrict Iran's nuclear, ballistic missile, and conventional weapons pursuits. My Administration will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon, nor will we allow Iran to endanger the rest of the world with a fresh supply of ballistic missiles and conventional arms,' Trump said in a statement.

Trump said he has issued a new Executive Order, restoring United Nations sanctions on Iran, and imposing new sanctions and export controls on more than two dozen entities and individuals that support Iran's nuclear, missile, and conventional arms-related activities.

The executive order blocks the property, and interests in property, in the US of those who contribute to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran, as well as those who provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms.

Noting that this executive order is critical to enforcing the UN arms embargo on Iran, Trump said that this order will greatly diminish the Iranian regime's capacity to export arms to terrorists and dangerous actors throughout the region, as well as its ability to acquire weapons to build up its own forces.

Trump said that his administration is also imposing new sanctions and export control measures on 27 entities and individuals connected to Iran's proliferation networks.

These actions target the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran for its role in Iran's nuclear escalation, the Iranian missile organisation Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group for facilitating ballistic missile development, and two Iranian entities for their involvement in the transfer and acquisition of conventional arms, he said.

Trump said that the Iranian regime has repeatedly lied about its secret nuclear weapons archive and denied access to international inspectors, further exposing the deep flaws of the last administration's failed nuclear deal from which he withdrew the United States.

'The world cannot afford to sit idly by as Iran builds a nuclear weapon. My Administration is restoring these sanctions as part of our efforts to ensure that never happens,' he said, asserting that his actions send a clear message to the Iranian regime and those in the international community who refuse to stand up to Iran.

'The United States will not allow the Iranian regime to further advance capabilities to directly threaten and terrorise the rest of the world,' he said.

Trump said the Iranian 'regime must change its behaviour if it hopes to provide what the Iranian people so desperately want and deserve: a thriving and prosperous Iran'.

At a press conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he has sanctioned the Iranian Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, an Iran's defense industries organization and its director.

'We (are) also sanctioning the previous President Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. For nearly 2 years corrupt officials in Tehran have worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo. Our actions today are a warning they should be heard worldwide.

'No matter who you are if you violate the UN arms embargo on Iran you risk sanctions,' he said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that his department has designated entities that support Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and senior officials overseeing Iran's nuclear power ballistic missile development.

'A number of our targets today are affiliated with the atomic energy organisation of Iran, which has operational and regulatory control over the nuclear program and bears responsibility for nuclear research and development,' he said.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that over the past two years, Tehran has carried out attacks on international shipping, regional infrastructure, and on US and partner nation forces.

Moreover, Iran has violated UN Security Council resolutions for years by proliferating advanced conventional weapons to nonstate actors such as Hezbollah and the Houthis, who use them to threaten civilian population centers, he alleged.

'We stand ready to respond to future Iranian aggression, and we remain committed to doing our part in the administration's maximum pressure campaign,' he said.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that his department is adding five Iranian scientists to the entity list for enabling or assisting Iran's nuclear development program.

These five individuals played a critical role in Iran's nuclear weapons development program and continue to work for the Iranian regime, he said.

US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien said that the president has taken decisive action to restrict Iran's access to nuclear technology, ballistic missile technology, and conventional weapons because UN Security Council has sadly failed in its mission to promote international peace and security by not extending the conventional arms embargo on Iran.

'Iran should join its neighbours who are embracing a better future based on progress, shared interest, and shared goals. The president has made it clear that if Iran is willing to choose the path of peace, America will walk beside it,' he said, referring to the Abraham accord - a peace agreement inked between Israel and two Arab states, Bahrain and the UAE.

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Lalit K Jha
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