US imposes new sanctions on Iran’s metal exports

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced yesterday that the U.S. imposed new sanctions on Iran’s metal exports and eight senior Iranian officials.

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

US President Donald Trump had said on Wednesday that the US will “immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime” following the attacks on American targets in Iraq.

US Treasury also designated 17 Iranian metals producers and mining companies, along with entities based in China and the Seychelles, among other penalties.

The sanctions are the latest move in an aggressive tit-for-tat between Tehran and Washington that escalated sharply over the past few weeks.

Mr Trump yesterday said Iranian general Soleimani was planning attacks against four US embassies before he was killed last week. Officials said, a high-ranking commander in Iran’s Islamic Republican Guard Corps (IRGC), Abdul Reza Shahlai was also on US military targeting list but the mission was not successful.

The State Department has offered a USD 15 million reward for information leading to the disruption of IRGC finances, including Shahlai, a key financier in the organization. The State Department said Shahlai has a long history of targeting Americans and US allies globally, and planned multiple assassinations of coalition forces in Iraq.

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