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New US sanctions target Iranian drone, steel, auto companies

“Let it be clear to all those who enable or support Iran’s attacks: The United States is committed to Israel’s security,” said U.S. President Joe Biden.

A military museum in Iran in 2019. Credit: saeediex/Shutterstock.
A military museum in Iran in 2019. Credit: saeediex/Shutterstock.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced new sanctions against Iran on Thursday, days after the Islamic Republic launched hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel over the weekend—its first direct attack on the Jewish state.

“Let it be clear to all those who enable or support Iran’s attacks: The United States is committed to Israel’s security,” Biden stated. “We are committed to the security of our personnel and partners in the region, and we will not hesitate to take all necessary action to hold you accountable.”

The sanctions, which Washington coordinated with London, target 16 individuals and 10 companies that are either involved in the manufacture of Iranian drones or in the steel and auto industries that supported Saturday’s attack.

The United Kingdom also sanctioned “several Iranian military organizations, individuals and entities involved in Iran’s UAV and ballistic missile industries,” per the U.S. Treasury Department. (Unmanned aerial vehicles are also called drones.)

Those sanctioned include a Dubai-based affiliate of the Khouzestan Steel Company, one of Iran’s largest steel producers. Washington sanctioned the parent company, whose steel sales generate billions of dollars for the government of Iran annually, in 2020. The Khouzestan affiliate in Dubai has sourced hundreds of millions of dollars of parts used in Iran’s steel manufacturing.

The United States also imposed sanctions on executives and employees of the Kimia Part Sivan Company, which the Treasury Department describes as the drone production arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. (The United States has designated the IRGC a foreign terror organization since 2019.)

Biden stated on Thursday that his administration has sanctioned more than 600 individuals and entities working with Iran and its proxies, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Biden administration has previously said that it expects that other U.S. allies and partners will soon impose sanctions on Iran in response to the April 13 attack on Israel. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday that Washington is coordinating a “comprehensive response.”

One potential such move would be for the European Union to designate the IRGC as a whole as a terrorist organization. (The E.U. has designated leaders and units of the IRGC, but not the whole organization.)

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution urging them to do so by a vote of 411-14.

“In 2019, President Trump designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, and sadly, our European allies refused to follow,” said Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), who sponsored the resolution. 

“This legislation implores our E.U. allies to finally designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization, which would hold the IRGC accountable for their terrorism,” she said.

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