WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration hit Iran with new sanctions Friday, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Iran's growing influence on a visit to Lebanon.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions target 31 Iranian scientists, technicians and companies affiliated with Iran's Defense Innovation and Research Organization, which had led the country's former nuclear weapons program. Officials said they continue to work in Iran's defense sector and are an expert at reconstructing this program. Fourteen people, including the organisation's leader and 17 subsidiaries, are subject to the sanctions.
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The sanctions freeze all assets they may have targeted in US jurisdictions and bore the Americans from any transaction with them. But officials say the move will also make the targeted "radioactive international" by making people of any nationality doing business with them subject to US sanctions under so-called secondary sanctions.
U.S. Secondary sanctions apply to foreign companies and individuals and may include fines, loss of presence in the US economy, asset freezes, and travel bans. Officials said the threat of such sanctions would significantly limit the ability of those destined to travel outside Iran, attend research conferences or recruit other jobs.
"People working for Iran's proliferation programs – including scientists, purchasing agents, and technical experts – should be aware of the reputation and financial risks they face by working for Iran's nuclear program," said the state department in a statement.
The move is unusual because the sanctions are not imposed based on what they are targeted at the moment.
Instead, they were imposed because of their previous work on the development of nuclear weapons and the potential that they would be in charge of any Iranian attempt to restart the program. Iran promised not to resume nuclear weapons work during the nuclear power agreement in 2015, and the UN nuclear watchdog says Iran is still complying with the agreement.
However, the United States withdrew from the agreement last year and said it was fatally wrong and allowed Iran to gradually begin advanced nuclear work over time. The Trump administration has reintroduced US sanctions that were relieved under the terms of the agreement and continues to introduce new as part of a press campaign to force Iran to renegotiate the deal.
Officials said the decision to go ahead with sanctions was partly based on Israel's recovery of what it and the United States call a "secret archive" of Iranian documents as they say, deliberately showing Iran preserved and stored its early nuclear weapons work. as the "Amad Plan" with the intention of one day resuming the development of a bomb.
"As the world has learned from the recently discovered secret Iranian nuclear archive – which revealed some of the individuals sanctioned today, the unanswered question is about Iran's illegal past nuclear activities under the Amad plan, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, "the ministry said in a statement.
The message camera When Pompeo was in Beirut, the Lebanese officials warned to curb the influence of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement. He says Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and should not be allowed to impose policies or power despite its presence in the Lebanese parliament and government.