US imposes fresh sanctions over Iranian arms, cyber activity

The affected include four firms based in Iran and Hong Kong that allegedly provided materials to Iran's ballistic missile and drone programmes

By Reuters

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A bronze seal for the Department of the Treasury. — Reuters file
A bronze seal for the Department of the Treasury. — Reuters file

Published: Fri 2 Feb 2024, 9:45 PM

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions targeting Iran's ballistic missile and drone procurement programmes as well as officials it said were involved in hacking US infrastructure, as Washington looks to increase pressure on Tehran.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement on Friday it had imposed sanctions on four Iran- and Hong Kong-based companies involved in providing materials and technology to Iran's ballistic missile and drone programmes as well as a Hong Kong-based firm for selling Iranian commodities to Chinese entities.


The Treasury also said it placed sanctions on six officials of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp's Cyber Electronic Command (IRGC-CEC) for malicious cyber activities against critical infrastructure in the United States and elsewhere.

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Iran's mission to the United Nations in New York and China's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The sanctions, announced in separate statements, represent Washington's latest efforts to punish Tehran, whose proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and the Gaza Strip have attacked US and Israeli targets.

The United States blamed a weekend attack on a US base in Jordan that killed three American soldiers and wounded more than 40 on Iran-backed militants and the Biden administration has promised a response that will include retaliatory strikes.

The weekend attack was the first to kill US troops in the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October.

The Treasury said it had imposed sanctions the four Iran- and Hong Kong-based entities for operating as covert procurement entities for Iran's Pishtazan Kavosh Gostar Boshra (PKGB) and its managing director Hamed Dehghan, who it said support Iranian military organisations, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

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The Treasury named the three Hong Kong firms it accused of being part of the procurement network for Iran's ballistic missile and drone programs as FY International Trading Co., Limited, Duling Technology HK Limited and Advantage Trading Co., Limited.

Hong Kong-based China Oil and Petroleum Company Limited was also hit with sanctions on Friday, with the Treasury accusing it of being a front company for the IRGC’s Quds Force. The Treasury said it has arranged contracts and sold hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian commodities and was involved in trade with China-based entities to benefit the Quds Force.

Narin Sepehr Mobin Istatis (NSMI), an Iran-based subsidiary of PKGB, was also among those sanctioned in Friday’s action, which freezes any US assets belonging to those targeted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them. Those that engage in certain transactions with them also risk being hit with sanctions.

In a separate statement, the Treasury said it had imposed sanctions on six IRGC-CEC officials: Hamid Reza Lashgarian, Mahdi Lashgarian, Hamid Homayunfal, Milad Mansuri, Mohammad Bagher Shirinkar, and Reza Mohammad Amin Saberian.


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