US imposes fresh sanctions on Iran in Trump’s last days

US government designates more Iranian entities with only five days left in the president's term

epa08924631 A handout photo made available by Iran's Presidential Office shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, 07 January 2021. According to media reports, President Rouhani commented on the storming of the US Capitol in Washington DC, USA saying that chaos set free by US President Donald J. Trump's supporters proved the failure of Western democracy.  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
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The Trump administration, five days before it leaves office, imposed sanctions on nine Iranian entries and people, focusing on the country’s “conventional arms proliferation.”

In a statement on Friday, US Secretary State Mike Pompeo announced the sanctions on Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and other Iranian entities for activities related to conventional arms proliferation.

The sanctions are under Executive Order 13949, signed by outgoing President Donald Trump in September, and allows US tools to go after armed transfers by Iran “that fuel ongoing conflict in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere.”

Those designated on Friday are Iran’s Marine Industries Organisation (MIO), Aerospace Industries Organisation (AIO) and the Iran Aviation Industries Organisation (IAIO) “for engaging in activities that materially contribute to the supply, sale or transfer, directly or indirectly, to or from Iran, or for the use in or benefit of Iran of arms or related materiel, including spare parts.”

Also designated are Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL); Hoopad Darya Shipping Agency Company; Jiangyin Mascot Special Steel Company, based in China; Iran Transfo Company; Zangan Distribution Transformer Company; and Accenture Building Materials.

The State Department also placed sanctions on Hamidreza Azimian, chief executive of Mobarakeh Steel Company, and Mohammad Reza Modarres Khiabani, chief executive of IRISL, for their role in these offences.

The Trump administration is increasing its non-nuclear sanctions on Iran before its departure next Wednesday, making it harder for the incoming Biden administration to remove those penalties in any rapprochement with Tehran.