The United States has sanctioned companies in Iran, China, and the United Arab Emirates for trading in steel with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington had sanctioned seven entities and two individuals for violating U.S. sanctions on shipping steel to or from Iran, including Chinese-based Jiangyin Mascot Special Steel Co. and U.A.E.-based Accenture Building Materials.
Pompeo also designated three Iranian defense companies as arms proliferators. The three companies -- Marine Industries Organization (MIO), Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO), and the Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) -- were already sanctioned under the same authority.
The latest U.S. sanctions on Iran come as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated on January 20, has suggested that Washington will seek to restart diplomacy with Iran.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have risen since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from an international nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and imposed crippling sanctions as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign.
In response to the U.S. pullout and economic sanctions, Tehran has breached parts of the nuclear pact -- under which Tehran committed to limit its nuclear activities in return for relief from sanctions -- saying it is no longer bound by it.