US slaps more sanctions on Iran in final days of Trump presidency

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says seven companies were targeted for shipping steel to or from Iran.

The United States has imposed more sanctions on companies in Iran, China and the United Arab Emirates for doing business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and on three Iranian entities for conventional arms proliferation.

They are the latest in a series of measures aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration, which ends on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that Washington had sanctioned seven companies, including Chinese-based Jiangyin Mascot Special Steel Co and UAE-based Accenture Building Materials, and two people for shipping steel to or from Iran.

He said Iran’s Marine Industries Organization, Aerospace Industries Organization and the Iran Aviation Industries Organization had also been blacklisted for conventional arms proliferation.

In a statement later on Friday, Pompeo said he was also increasing the scope of metals-related sanctions against Iran administered by the Department of State.

Those who knowingly transfer 15 materials which the State Department said are used in connection with Iran’s nuclear, military or ballistic missile programmes, including certain types of aluminium and steel, would be subject to sanctions, he said.

During his four years in office, Trump has tried to force Tehran back into talks about its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its activities in the Middle East. Saying the agreement did not go far enough, Trump quit the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, which Tehran had struck with world powers in 2015 to rein in its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief.

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who will succeed Trump on Wednesday, has said he will return to the 2015 nuclear pact if Iran resumes strict compliance with it.

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