The US has imposed sanctions on five Iranian companies it alleges are tied to the Islamic Republic’s development of ballistic missiles.
The Treasury Department linked the measure to the recent wave of deadly unrest that has hit some areas in Iran, though the US has targeted Tehran’s missile program in the past too for other unsubstantiated reasons.
“These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program, which the Iranian regime prioritizes over the economic well-being of the Iranian people,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.
“The United States will continue to decisively counter the Iranian regime’s malign activity,” Mnuchin added.
Under the sanctions, Washington will freeze any assets that the firms hold in places under US jurisdiction and also ban US citizens from doing business with them.
In addition, foreign institutions, which work with the companies, could be locked out of the US financial system.
Washington claims Iran’s missile program is in breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed Tehran’s nuclear deal with the P5+1 states in 2015.
However, Tehran insists its missile tests do not breach any UN resolutions because they are solely for defense purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
The Islamic Republic has said it will spare no effort to meet its national security needs, and does not allow any party to intervene in the imperative.
Now, the Treasury Department says it is imposing sanctions over the unrest which the US itself has praised.
Last week, a number of peaceful protests began in several areas across the country, with the participants calling on authorities to address their economic issues. The protests had no permits from relevant authorities.
Those gatherings were, however, overshadowed when armed elements and vandals showed up among ordinary protesters and began to launch attacks on public property, police stations and religious sites.
The original protesters soon left the streets upon calls by the authorities so security forces could deal with the rioters and sporadic violence, which continued in some towns and cities for several days.