US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announce fresh sanctions against eight top Iranian officials, as well as against more than a dozen leading producers of metals in Iran.

Top US diplomats take questions as they announce new sanctions on Iran in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2020.
Top US diplomats take questions as they announce new sanctions on Iran in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

The Trump administration on Friday announced a new wave of sanctions on Iran following this week’s missile strikes by the Islamic Republic on US bases in Iraq. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the new sanctions will target eight senior Iranian officials involved in "destabilising" activities in the Middle East as well as Tuesday's missile strike, which came in retaliation for the US killing of a senior Iranian general in a drone strike.

Mnuchin said President Donald Trump will issue an executive order imposing sanctions on anyone involved in the Iranian textile, construction, manufacturing or mining sectors. They will also impose separate sanctions against the steel and iron sectors.

"As a result of these actions we will cut off billions of dollars of support to the Iranian regime," the treasury secretary said. 

The sanctions imposed on Iran are "symbolic", a sanctioned commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said.

"Imposing sanctions is symbolic for America and for me because this measure will have no economic impact and will not compensate for (Iran's) missile barrage (on US targets) and will not bring respect for Washington," tweeted Mohsen Rezaie.

"It is symbolic for me ... And I am proud to be sanctioned by America."

Metal producers sanctioned 

Among the senior Iranian officials targeted in the new measures were Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, the Iranian armed forces deputy chief of staff and Gholamreza Soleimani, the head of the Basij militia, a volunteer force loyal to Iran's government.

The US Treasury also slapped sanctions on 17 Iranian metals producers and mining companies which it said generated "billions of dollars" in revenue.

The sanctions also included a network of three entities that are based in China and Seychelles as well as a vessel "involved in the purchase, sale, and transfer of Iranian metals products," the Treasury said in a statement.

US-Iran tensions

The administration has already reinstated all the US sanctions that were eased under the 2015 nuclear deal, which has caused significant economic hardship in Iran and cut its oil exports to historic lows.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have spiked since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor Barack Obama and began reimposing sanctions that were relaxed under the accord.

Iran this week launched the strikes in retaliation for the US drone strike that killed Revolutionary Guard General Qasem Soleimani, the country's most powerful commander, in Baghdad last week.

Although the two sides seem to have stepped back from the brink of armed conflict, Trump vowed on Wednesday to impose the additional sanctions.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies