US imposes new sanctions against Iran

US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaks at the Derry Opera House during a town hall with residents of Derry, New Hampshire on April 17, 2018. (AFP photo)

The United States has imposed sanctions on several Iranian individuals and organizations, including Evin Prison and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), over “human rights abuses” and “censorship.”

The US Treasury Department announced the sanctions Wednesday on its website, saying the listed persons and entities will be blocked from the US financial system.

Individuals and companies who do business with the targeted Iranians could face sanctions from Treasury as well.

“Iran not only exports terrorism and instability across the world, it routinely violates the rights of its own people.  The Iranian regime diverts national resources that should belong to the people to fund a massive and expensive censorship apparatus and suppress free speech,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Iran has rejected US and Western accusations of human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic as “untrue” and “politically-motivated.”

On Thursday, the US Treasury imposed new sanctions against nine Iranian and Turkish individuals and companies as well as a number of aircraft providing goods and services to four Iranian airlines.

The move by Washington was part of President Donald Trump's plans to impose harsh sanctions against Tehran after pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Many countries, including America's European allies, have said that they would not back Trump's new plan.

The UK, France and Germany-- all signatories to the deal-- are already in talks with Iran to protect their businesses from possible punishment by the US.

Russia and China have also expressed willingness to back the deal and even fill the void should any European companies leave Iranian markets.

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