United States slaps new sanctions on Iran following strikes on US targets

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Friday that the U.S. would impose new sanctions on Iran’s metal exports and a handful of the country’s senior officials.

The new penalties came days after Iran fired a barrage of missiles at Iraqi bases that were housing U.S. targets — a move made in retaliation for an American airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iran’s top military leader, Qasem Soleimani.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said that the U.S. will “immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.”

Last month, State Department officials said the pressure on Iran “will intensify in 2020, as the U.S. seeks to rein in Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear infrastructure and regional aggression.”

“There will be more sanctions to come, and Iran’s economic problems and challenges are going to compound in 2020,” a senior State Department official said on a Dec. 30 call with reporters.

“They are already deep into a recession, and we are also seeing Iran come under greater diplomatic isolation.”

Another senior State Department official added that the Trump administration has sanctioned approximately 1,000 individuals and entities with links to Iran’s malign activities.

“What we are doing is denying the regime the revenue that it needs to run an expansionist foreign policy, and by that policy, Iran has less money to spend today than it did almost three years ago when we came into office,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In December, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced another round of fresh sanctions, this time targeting Iran’s largest shipping company and biggest airline, saying the companies are aiding the regime’s alleged proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

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“As long as its malign behaviors continue, so will our campaign of maximum pressure,” Pompeo said during a Dec. 11 press conference at the State Department.

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