US imposes sanctions on key players in Iran’s ballistic missile program

WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on an Iran-based man and his network of companies accused of helping Tehran obtain materials for its ballistic missile program, acting after missile attacks by alleged Iranian-backed proxies on countries in the region.

In a statement released as talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal stalled, the US Treasury Department said it took action after Iran’s missile attack on Erbil in Iraq and an “Iran-enabled” Houthi missile attack on a Saudi Aramco facility also this month. like other missile attacks by Iranian proxies against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Treasury said it had imposed sanctions on Iranian procurement agent Mohammad Ali Hosseini and a network of companies it accused him of using to procure ballistic missile propellant and related materials in support of Iran’s missile program.

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The Treasury accused him of supplying equipment to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unit responsible for ballistic missile research and development. Iran’s IRGC is subject to US sanctions.

A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the sanctions were unrelated to efforts to revive the nuclear deal under which Iran limited its nuclear program to make it more difficult to development of a nuclear bomb – an ambition he denies – in exchange for easing global economic sanctions.

“As the United States continues to call on Iran to fully comply with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we will not hesitate to target those who support Iran’s ballistic missile program,” the official said. Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson in the statement. declaration.

Iran carried out a March 13 attack on Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, a rare publicly declared assault by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and an attack on missile by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis hit a Saudi Aramco facility on March 25. . Learn more

A nascent plan for Iraq’s Kurdistan region to supply gas to Turkey and Europe – with the help of Israel – is part of what prompted Iran to hit Erbil with ballistic missiles this month here, according to Iraqi and Turkish officials. Read more

The Houthis said they launched attacks on Saudi energy facilities on Friday and the Saudi-led coalition said oil giant Aramco’s petroleum products distribution station in Jeddah was hit, causing a fire in two tanks of storage but no victims. Read more

The US-Iranian nuclear talks were close to an agreement in early March before last-minute Russian demands for sweeping safeguards that would have overturned sanctions imposed following its invasion of Ukraine derailed the talks. .

Russia appears since to have reduced its requirements to cover only work related to the nuclear deal, leaving a small number of issues to be resolved between Washington and Tehran, diplomats say.

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Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Arshad Mohammed and Chris Gallagher, editing by William Maclean

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