On Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury announced sanctions against individuals and corporate entities in Iran and China for assisting Iran’s ballistic missile program.
In a statement, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it has “designated two senior Iranian defense officials, including a defense official who facilitated the sale of explosives and provided other support to Syria and the director of the organization responsible for Iran’s solid-fueled ballistic missile program” as targets for sanctions.
Those officials are Morteza Farasatpour, a senior Iranian defense official, and Rahim Ahmadi, a senior official with Iran’s Shahid Bakeri Industries Group (SBIG).
“Farasatpour coordinated the sale and delivery of explosives and other material for Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) on behalf of DIO. As DIO’s Deputy Director for Commerce, Farasatpour oversaw DIO’s credit line with the SSRC, which was valued at tens of millions of dollars,” the Treasury Department explained.
Ahmadi “coordinates SBIG’s ballistic missile flight tests with Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization,” which is “the Iranian organization responsible for ballistic missile research, development, and production activities and organization.”
Also designated for sanctions was Chinese national Ruan Runling, who the Office of Foreign Assets Control said has “provided, or attempted to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of Iran’s Shiraz Electronics Industries.” Shiraz is controlled by the Iranian military, supplying it with missile guidance technology.
Some of that technology employs components provided by three Chinese companies, which were also listed for sanctions. Those companies are named Shanghai North Begins International, Shanghai Gang Quan Trade Company, and Shanghai North Transway International Trading Company.
Finally, Iran-based Matin Sanat Nik Andishan, a company that has provided materials useful to Iran’s liquid-fueled ballistic missile program, was listed for sanctions.
Bloomberg Politics notes that even as these new sanctions were announced, the Trump administration “notified Congress that it’s continuing to waive sanctions, including restrictions on oil sales, that were eased under the 2015 deal between world powers and Iran to curb its nuclear program,” based on an April finding that “Iran is complying with its side of the deal.”
“This administration is committed to countering Iran’s destabilizing behavior, such as Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and support to the Assad regime. It is alarming that individuals involved with Iran’s missile program are assisting the brutal Assad regime, and we are taking action to curtail this behavior,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said of the new sanctions.
“As we continue to closely scrutinize Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA and develop a comprehensive Iran policy, we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions,” Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones said on Wednesday. “We urge our partners around the world to join us in calling out individuals and entities who violate international sanctions targeting Iran’s human rights abuses.”
As Bloomberg Politics further notes, the new sanctions were announced just two days before Iran’s presidential election, in which “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani faces “hardline” challengers who insist Iran has not benefited sufficiently from the nuclear deal.
Iran promptly attacked the new sanctions as a violation of the nuclear deal.
“Iran condemns the US administration’s ill will in its effort to reduce the positive results of the country’s implementation of JCPOA commitments by adding individuals to the list of unilateral and illegal extraterritorial sanctions,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, using the Telegram messaging application to deliver the statement. “JCPOA” is the formal name of the nuclear deal.
Ghasemi has said in the past that Iran was considering retaliatory sanctions against American individuals and companies because they were committing “human rights” violations by supporting Israel and “terrorist groups” across the Middle East.