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US slaps sanctions on 5 individuals, 7 entities involved in Iran nuclear program

News Agencies | Updated on: 19 July 2019, 8:55 IST

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on five individuals and seven entities based in China, Iran and Belgium which are in connection with Tehran's nuclear programme.

Washington accused the entities and individuals of acting as a procurement network for Iran's uranium enrichment nuclear program.

"Treasury is taking action to shut down an Iranian nuclear procurement network that leverages Chinese- and Belgium-based front companies to acquire critical nuclear materials and benefit the regime's malign ambitions. Iran cannot claim benign intent on the world stage while it purchases and stockpiles products for centrifuges," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

"The individuals and entities targeted today are based in Iran, China, and Belgium and have acted as a procurement network for Iran's Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA), which plays a crucial role in Iran's uranium enrichment nuclear program through the production of centrifuges used in facilities belonging to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), " said Treasury department in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Vice President announced that the US has imposed sanctions against two Iraqi militia leaders that are allegedly funded by Iran, reported Sputnik.

"Let me be clear, the United States will not stand idly while Iranian-backed militias spread terror", Pence said during his speech at a meeting on religious freedom.

As a part of the sanctions, all property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.

After Trump took the reign of the US, he increased his drumbeat of aggression against Iran and accused it of violating the 2015 nuclear deal signed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

Tensions between the two countries escalated since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal JCPoA last year. Following which, Washington re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

While Tehran is yet to withdraw fully from the accord, it recently announced its decision to increase nuclear enrichment in response to the new US sanctions.

Recently, the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran recently announced that the country has officially surpassed the 3.67 per cent uranium enrichment limit set under the 2015 pact and could consider increasing the stockpile to 20 per cent in the future.


First published: 19 July 2019, 8:55 IST