US slaps fresh sanctions against Iran

US President Donald Trump is seen signing a document reinstating sanctions against Iran in this May 8, 2018 file photo. — AFP

WASHINGTON — The United States on Thursday slapped another round of fresh sanctions against Iran, blacklisting 20 Iran- and Iraq-based companies, officials and individuals, who it believes have helped terror groups attack US forces in Iraq.

The new curbs, which aim to pile up pressure on the Iranian regime reeling from the coronavirus outbreak, follow a series of deadly strikes by Iranian-backed forces in Iraq.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement that the individuals and entities supported Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its elite foreign paramilitary and espionage arm, the Quds Force, as well as transferred lethal aid to Iran-backed militias in Iraq, including Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq.

“Iran employs a web of front companies to fund terrorist groups across the region, siphoning resources away from the Iranian people and prioritizing terrorist proxies over the basic needs of its people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

US also that the people and entities were involved in smuggling weapons to Iraq and Yemen and selling US-blacklisted Iranian oil to the Syrian government, among other activities.

The new sanctions against Iran are in defiance of the increasing pressure the US faces to ease pressure as Tehran is struggling to cope with the pandemic. — Agencies