On July 18, 2017, US announced new Iran related sanctions. The sanctions are a response to Iran’s malign activities across the Middle East. Iran continues to support terrorist groups like Hizballah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad that is a threat to Israel and the stability in the Middle East. Iran has maintained its steadfast support for the Assad regime. Iran has also provided weapons to Houthis in Yemen that threatens freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and the security of Saudi Arabia. And Iran continues to test and develop ballistic missiles despite warnings.
|U.S. department of state-new sanctions on Iran|
In response to these continued threats from Iran, the US Administration announced to day that it has designated 18 entities and individuals supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program and for supporting Iran’s military procurement or Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Today’s actions were taken pursuant to order (E.O) 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and supporters of such activity, as well as (E.O) 13581, which targets transnational criminal organizations. The entity that is in focus in these sanctions is several branches of the IRGC like the Aerospace who does research and development of ballistic missiles.
Additionally, the US department of the treasury’s office of foreign assets control (OFAC) designated seven entities and five individuals for engaging in activities in support of Iran’s military procurement or the IRGC, as well as an Iran based transnational criminal organization and three associated persons.
One other issue that was addressed in this report was the illegally detained US citizens and other foreigners on fabricated national-security related charges. The US administration calls upon Iran to release U.S. citizens Baquer Namazi, Siamak Namazi, and Xiyue Wang and all other unjustly detained U.S. citizens. The report does also mention Robert Levinson that has been missing for more than a decade, the FBI offers a reward of 5 million Dollars for any information that could lead to Robert’s safe return.
The report also addresses Iran’s human rights violations. Like the denial of the freedom of religion or belief as well as other human rights and fundamental freedoms to individuals in Iran. Arbitrary arrest and detention of members of religious minorities and political activists are common as is the use of torture and other forms of abuse in detention. Iran also coerces Afghan refugees into participating in combat in Syria, deporting those who refuse to do so, and it supports militias fighting in Iraq that recruited and used child soldiers.
The report concludes with the announcement that the US will continue to aggressively counter Iran’s malign activities in the region and that they will closely monitor Iran’s nuclear activity and make sure that they uphold the JCPOA. The US will continue to use sanctions to target those who lend support to Iran’s destabilizing behavior and above all, the United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
This report upholds Trumps promise to hold Iran accountable for their crimes against human rights and to hold them accountable to the JCPOA. The US will keep a close look at Iran’s ever move, and rest assure if Iran violates any of its restrictions they will have to pay.