On January 15th, the US imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities.
This is a part of US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” against Iran.
One would consider Iran ran out of entities and individuals that weren’t sanctioned, but apparently that was wrong and there were still some left.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in statements said Washington blacklisted seven entities and two individuals in sanctions related to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and Iranian shipping entities.
Sanctions were also imposed on Iranian entities for alleged activities related to conventional arms proliferation.
Just two days earlier, the US Treasury sanctioned two organizations, along with their leaders and subsidiaries, who are allegedly under control of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The two organizations are named the following:
- the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO)
“EIKO has systematically violated the rights of dissidents by confiscating land and property from opponents of the regime, including political opponents, religious minorities, and exiled Iranians,” the Treasury said in a statement.
- Astan Quds Razavi (AQR)
Astan Qods Razavi (AQR) is a multi-billion-dollar religious conglomerate that owns mines, textile factories, a pharmaceutical plant and even major oil and gas firms. The heads of both AQR and EIKO are appointed by Khamenei.
“These institutions enable Iran’s elite to sustain a corrupt system of ownership over large parts of Iran’s economy,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to target those who enrich themselves while claiming to help the Iranian people.”
These organizations were called “Bonyads” and this is the description:
“Bonyads are opaque, quasi-official organizations generally controlled by current and former government officials and clerics that report directly to the Supreme Leader. Bonyads receive benefits from the Iranian government, including tax exemptions, but are not required to have their budgets publicly approved. This lack of accountability has enabled the bonyads to expand their economic activities far beyond their original remit and has led to the accumulation of vast amounts of wealth without delivering the promised benefit to the people of Iran. Further, the lack of accountability has allowed systemic corruption and mismanagement to grow unchecked, with only low level or isolated actors being held to account by the regime.”
That is all and well, still incoming President Joe Biden said he would rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal.
In response, Iran welcomed that, but also said that it should also be accompanied by a removal of sanctions, primarily against Iran’s energy sector, otherwise it was pointless.
U.S. officials have said there will be no slow down in the pressure campaign on Iran in the final days of the Trump administration.
Just days earlier, on January 12th, Pompeo said without providing hard evidence that al Qaeda had established a new home base in Iran and that it was time “for America and all free nations to crush the Iran-al-Qaeda axis.”
As such the maximum pressure campaign is supposedly on-going, but there appears to be little effect at this point, and Iran appears to simply be waiting for Trump to vacate the presidential seat.
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