WASHINGTON: The U.S. placed new sanctions on Iran’s already ruining economy Friday and defended the killing of a top Iranian official, alleging it was plotting an “imminent” attack on U.S. embassies.
The sanctions, announced at the White House, put the latest barrage in a U.S .- Iranian conflict that risked slipping into war a week ago with the deadly U.S. drone attack on General Qasem Soleimani, the second most influential person in Iran by some metrics.
In retaliation, Iran launched ballistic missile volleys at Iraqi bases that housed US forces, without causing casualties.
Read More: Two rockets hit Iraqi capital’s Green Zone
Although President Donald Trump said he would not respond more militarily, Washington intends to continue the pressure.
The sanctions mean “we’re going to cut off trillions of dollars in funding to the Iranian regime,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told White House reporters.
Measures targeted the steel industry in Iran and eight state officials came in addition to extensive sanctions already in objective of weakening Iran’s economy.
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo told reporters that sanctions “have robbed the regime of billions in revenue so far.”
“Oil revenues (down) by 80% and Iran is unable to access about 90% of its foreign-policy reserves,” he said. “As long as we continue to impose sanctions on Iran’s outlawed ways.”
Among the senior Iranian officials targeted in the new measures were Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces and Gholamreza Soleimani, Head of the Basij militia, a regime loyal volunteer force.
Seventeen producers of Iranian metals and mining companies have been singled out.
The sanctions also included a network of three companies based in China and the Seychelles, as well as a vessel “involved in purchasing, selling, and shipping Iranian metal products,” said the Treasury in a statement.