US announces new Iran sanctions on Chinese and Russian firms

The State Department said the four companies transferred technology to Iran’s missile programme

A missile unveiled by Iran is launched in an unknown location in Iran in this picture received by Reuters on August 20, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Powered by automated translation

The United States announced Friday that it had sanctioned four Chinese and Russian companies earlier this week for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States on Wednesday hit China’s Chengdu Best New Materials Co. and Zibo Elim Trade Co. as well as Russia’s Nilco Group and Santers Holding.

Mr Pompeo said that the four companies transferred “sensitive technology and items to Iran’s missile programme". The sanctions will remain in effect for two years.

“We will continue to work to impede Iran’s missile development efforts and use our sanctions authorities to spotlight the foreign supplier, such as these entities in [China] and Russia, that provide missile-related materials and technology to Iran,” said Mr Pompeo.

“The imposition of sanctions against these foreign entities is consistent with our efforts to use all available measures to prevent Iran from advancing its missile capabilities.”

The Donald Trump administration has announced a slew of new Iran sanctions in recent weeks as it seeks to make it more difficult for the incoming Joe Biden administration to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, which the president withdrew from in 2018.

The State Department introduced this week’s sanctions under the Iran-North Korea-Syria Nonproliferation Act, one of the key Iran sanctions laws that the Barack Obama administration waived as part of the nuclear deal.

President-elect Joe Biden would have to waive the sanctions once again should he wish to make good on his campaign promise to re-enter the nuclear deal should Iran return to compliance with the accord.

Last week the US Treasury Department sanctioned Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's personal foundation, which includes about 160 holdings across key economic sectors, as well as Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi.

At the time, Mr Pompeo promised to continue placing additional sanctions on Iran under “nuclear, counterterrorism and human rights authorities” throughout the coming weeks.