WASHINGTON -- The United States has imposed fresh sanctions on three entities and six Iranian individuals linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) two days after President Donald Trump announced he was pulling out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The U.S. Treasury said on May 10 that the sanctions were a joint action with the United Arab Emirates intended to disrupt an "extensive currency exchange network" used to help fund the IRGC and its foreign arm, the Qods Force, in their “malign activities and regional proxy groups."
The sanctions were announced by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) through its Specially Designated Nationals list.
"The Iranian regime and its central bank have abused access to entities in the UAE to acquire U.S. dollars to fund the IRGC-QF’s malign activities, including to fund and arm its regional proxy groups, by concealing the purpose for which the U.S. dollars were acquired," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.
The entities listed are: Jahan Aras Kish; the Joint Partnership of Mohammadreza Khedmati and Associates; and Rashed Exchange, also known as Safri Rashed.
The individuals sanctioned are identified as: Meghdad Amini; Mohammad Hasan Khoda’I, Sa’id Najafpur; Mas’ud Nikbakht; Foad Salehi; and Mohammadreza Khedmati Valadzaghard.
It said all six individuals are linked to Iran's powerful hard-line IRGC, which runs an intelligence service that is separate from the government's Intelligence Ministry.
U.S. and other officials have accused the IRGC of fomenting extremist violence in the Middle East. Iran and the IRGC deny financing any terror groups.
The United States placed the IRGC on its antiterrorism sanctions list in October 2017.
When under U.S. sanctions, any assets that persons or entities have within U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen and Americans will be barred from doing business with them.
Trump on May 8 announced that the United States would leave the 2015 nuclear deal signed by Iran with six world powers and that he would immediately reinstate sanctions on Tehran.
The 2015 agreement, worked out with Iran by the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany, lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program.
The pact, designed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, has been strongly criticized by Trump, who called it "a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made."
The other signatories urged Washington to remain part of the deal and have indicated they would adhere to the agreement and have called on Tehran to also stay in the accord despite the U.S. withdrawal.