On January 10, the United States announced new sanctions against Iran and clamed that it had ‘likely’ shot down the Ukrainian Boeing 737-800.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of downing the Ukrainian airline while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced a new round of sanctions. The new sactions are aimed at Iran’s construction, textiles, mining, steel and iron industries, among others. They also target eight senior Iranian officials for their supposed involvement in the recent missile attacks. Pompeo described them as members of Iran’s “inner security apparatus.”
“Treasury’s action includes the designations of Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council; Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, the Deputy Chief of Staff of Iranian armed forces; and Gholamreza Soleimani, the head of the Basij militia of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). In addition, Treasury designated 17 Iranian metals producers and mining companies; a network of three China- and Seychelles-based entities; and a vessel involved in the purchase, sale, and transfer of Iranian metals products, as well as in the provision of critical metals production components to Iranian metal producers,” the Treasury statement says.
The State Secretary added that the US believes that Iran was “likely” to shoot down the Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed near Tehran.
“We do believe that it is likely that this plane was shot down by an Iranian missile. We are going to let the investigation play out before we make the final determination,” he said.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immidiately congratulated US President Trump for imposing new anti-Iranian sanctions. The Prime Minister office issued a statement in which Netanyahu says the “terror regime” in Iran “oppresses the Iranian people and threatens world peace.”
The January 10 press conference is a visual confirmation that, regardless the real reason of the Boeing crash in Iran, the United States is planning to use the tragedy in order to discredit Iran, increase media and diplomatic pressure on it and try to create a new anti-Iranian coalition. At the same time, the ‘harsh’ sanctions imposed on Iran are aimed at a limited number of Iranian companies and people. Business of Such countries as China, Russia and even India is not planning to follow them. This indicates that the US has little options to pressure Iran by economic means and in fact the position of the world’s sole supwerpower is weaker than it wants to demonstrate.
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