The United States Treasury announced new sanctions on five Iranian entities, two vessels and one individual on Wednesday, APA reports.
In a press statement, the Treasury said that Iranian businessman Abdolhossein Khedri and his shipping companies including Khedri Jahan Darya Co and Maritime Silk Road LLC were being designated over their alleged support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force's "smuggling operations."
"Khedri is being designated pursuant E.O. 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or serviced to or in support of, the IRGC-QF," the statement said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Wednesday that three of the entities include Iranian transportation companies, including Mahan Air and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, over their alleged role in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The designation also includes Shanghai-based shipping company E-Sail. The designations will take effect 180 days from today.
"As long as [Iran's] malign behaviour continues, so will our campaign of maximum pressure. Today I'm announcing the designation of three Iranian transportation companies that helped Iran import items for its weapons of mass destruction programmes," Pompeo said, speaking at a press conference in Washington, DC.
Pompeo warned that the designations "put the world on notice," and that countries or companies that engage in business with the designated entities risk exposure to US secondary sanctions.
In its statement, the Treasury noted that "as a result of today's action, all property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC [the Office of Foreign Assets Control]."
"In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to designation," the Treasury warned, adding that penalties may also apply to foreign financial institutions who do business with designated individuals and entities.
In his comments, Pompeo also reiterated the State Department's advisory against travel to Iran, saying there were "massive risks associated" with doing so. "The State Department has previously issued a Level 4 travel advisory for that country. It's our highest threat level. Americans and particularly dual national Iranian Americans traveling to Iran face a very high risk of kidnapping, arrest and detention," he said.