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July 18, 2017 11:37 am

Trump Administration Announces New Iran Sanctions Targeting IRGC

avatar by Ben Cohen

Iranian IRGC units have been fighting in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. Photo: Twitter.

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced on Tuesday that it was designating “16 entities and individuals” for activities supporting Iran’s military — and specifically the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the lynchpin of the Tehran regime and the primary coordinator of its terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East.

The new sanctions on the Tehran regime are based on existing two executive orders, one dealing with weapons of mass destruction and the other concerned with transnational criminal networks, the Treasury Department explained.

“This administration will continue to aggressively target Iran’s malign activity, including their ongoing state support of terrorism, ballistic missile program, and human rights abuses,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in a statement. “These sanctions target procurement of advanced military hardware, such as fast attack boats and unmanned aerial vehicles, and send a strong signal that the United States cannot and will not tolerate Iran’s provocative and destabilizing behavior. We will continue to target the IRGC and pressure Iran to cease its ballistic missile program and malign activities in the region.”

Mnuchin’s announcement followed US President Donald Trump’s decision to certify that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal agreed in July 2015 — as the US government is required to do every 90 days under the terms of an agreement between Congress and the previous Obama administration. The president’s decision was reportedly arrived at after a heated debate with aides, with Trump apparently tempted to not certify compliance, before pulling back.

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“The president has made very clear that he thought this was a bad deal — a bad deal for the United States,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at a briefing on Monday before the decision was to certify positively was made.

The entities and individuals sanctioned today indicate that the Trump administration remains heavily committed to cracking down on Iranian subterfuge outside the parameters of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed in 2015. Included on the list are a China-based procurement agent who supplies the Iranian Defense Ministry with weapons guidance technology and a Turkish distributor that supplies marine equipment to the IRGC’s naval units.

OFAC additionally sanctioned two research agencies of the IRGC on Tuesday, both of which contribute to Iran’s ballistic missile program. US advocates of a tougher approach to the Iranian regime have been urging the designation of the IRGC as a “foreign terrorist organization,” thereby enabling even more wide-ranging sanctions upon its numerous front companies in Iran and abroad.

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