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US sanctions international network over alleged aiding of Iran’s missile program

A view of the United States Department of the Treasury is seen in Washington, D.C., August 30, 2020. (File photo by Reuters)

The administration of US President Joe Biden has slapped a new round of sanctions on more than a dozen individuals and entities in Iran, China and Hong Kong over what it claimed to be supplying the Islamic Republic's ballistic missile program.

The US Treasury Department announced in a statement on Tuesday that the fresh sanctions targeted a network of seven individuals and six entities in Iran, China, and Hong Kong as part of Washington’s so-called pressure campaign against Tehran.

“This network conducted transactions and facilitated the procurement of sensitive and critical parts and technology for key actors in Iran’s ballistic missile development, including Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics,” the Treasury Department claimed in the statement.

The sanctions-hit companies include Beijing Shiny Nights Technology Development, Qingdao Zhongrongtong Trade Development, Hong Kong Ke.Do International Trade Co, Lingoe Process Engineering Limited and Zhejiang Qingji Ind. Co.

The US Treasury also imposed sanctions on Iran's defense attaché in Beijing, Davoud Damghani, claiming that he coordinated purchasing of Chinese supplies for Iran's defense industry.

The sanctions, which ban US firms and individuals and companies from doing business with those placed on the blacklist, come as China and Iran signed a 25-year cooperation agreement in March 2021 to strengthen their long-standing economic and political alliance.

The United States under former president Donald Trump reinstated crippling sanctions on Iran after unilaterally walking out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018, despite Iran’s full compliance with the terms of the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Although Trump failed to achieve his professed goals with the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign, the waves of sanctions took a heavy toll on ordinary Iranians, including those battling life-threatening diseases.

The sanctions, maintained by Trump’s successor Joe Biden, have restricted the financial channels necessary to pay for basic goods and medicine, undermining supply chains by limiting the number of suppliers willing to facilitate sales of humanitarian goods to the country.

Iran has repeatedly denounced the sanctions as an act of “economic war”, “economic terrorism”, and “medical terrorism.”

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