The United States has announced new sanctions on eight senior Iranian officials and that country's steel and other metals industry, along with a presidential executive order that promises further moves to curb the Iranian leadership's access to revenues.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the sanctions at a press conference in Washington on January 10, following this week's Iranian missile strikes on bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq.
Among others, Iranian individuals targeted include: Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council; Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, the deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces; and Gholamreza Soleimani, the head of the Basij militia of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
The sanctions also target 17 mining and metal-producing companies, a “network of three China- and Seychelles-based entities," and a vessel involved in the metals trade.
A Treasury Department statement outlining the punitive measures cites an executive order from President Donald Trump "expanding authorities to target additional sources of revenue used by the Iranian regime."
"Concurrently with today’s designations, the President is signing a new Executive Order (E.O.) that targets additional sources of revenue used by the Iranian regime to fund and support its nuclear program, missile development, terrorism and terrorist proxy networks, and malign regional influence," the statement said.
The new sanctions follow more than a year of tightening U.S. sanctions and with tensions high following a U.S. air strike on January 3 that killed IRGC Major General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad and Iran's targeting of two Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops with missiles on January 8.
They also come with U.S., Canadian, and British officials saying it is “highly likely” that an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight on January 8, probably in error.
Iranian officials have flatly denied as "impossible" that a missile shot down the Boeing 737-800 passenger plane after takeoff from the Iranian capital.