Trump administration details sanctions on Iran

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The United States on Monday detailed its reimposed sanctions on Iran, which went into effect at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on September 19.

In a factsheet after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a briefing in Washington DC on Iran, the administration said the sanctions affect Iranians directly involved in “Iran’s accumulation of enriched uranium in excess of Iran’s commitments” and Iranians “who support Iran’s ballistic missile programs” as well as those who have been associated with “an Iranian organization that has played a key role in Iran-North Korea missile cooperation.”

Also included is Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics and what the administration tagged “the illegitimate dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, under the new, broad sanctions authority pertaining to conventional arms related transfers to and from Iran that was issued by President Trump on September 21, 2020.”

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The Trump administration announced on Saturday it had reimposed all United Nations sanctions on Iran, although 13 of the 15 U.N. Security Council members, including long-time allies Britain, Germany and France, have said the move is void.

Many diplomats at the UN headquarters in New York have also said few countries are likely to reimpose the sanctions on Iran, including an arms embargo that is due to expire on October 18, exactly 13 years after the U.N. Security Council imposed it in 2007.

The sanctions on Iran were lifted in 2015 under a deal between Iran, the United States, Britain, Russia, China and France. The deal, enshrined in a 2015 Security Council resolution, aimed to stop Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

But President Donald Trump repeatedly labeled it “the worst deal ever”, and in 2018, quit the accord reached under his predecessor Barack Obama.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who is currently leading in the polls, has said he supports the deal with Iran.

He’s not alone. At the UN Security Council last month, the Trump administration failed to extend the arms embargo on Iran, as other powers decided to stick with the accord.

In a statement in Washington D.C. on Saturday,  U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, said the sanctions on Iran took effect at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, on Saturday, October 19, 2020.

“Sanctions are being re-imposed on Iran pursuant to the snapback process under UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231,” Pompeo said in a statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.

The return to U.N. sanctions, or what Pompeo described as ‘snapback process’, would reimpose the arms embargo and require Iran to suspend all nuclear enrichment activities, ban Iran from developing ballistic missiles or import any product that could contribute to the development of nuclear weapons.

“The United States took this decisive action because, in addition to Iran’s failure to perform its JCPOA commitments, the Security Council failed to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which had been in place for 13 years.

“The Security Council’s inaction would have paved the way for Iran to buy all manner of conventional weapons on October 18,” Pompeo said.

“Fortunately for the world, the United States took responsible action to stop this from happening. In accordance with our rights under UNSCR 2231, we initiated the snapback process to restore virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions, including the arms embargo. The world will be safer as a result,” he added.

U.S. sanctions on Iran factsheet

SWEEPING U.S. MEASURES TO SUPPORT RETURN OF UN SANCTIONS RELATING TO IRAN’S NUCLEAR, MISSILE, AND CONVENTIONAL ARMS PROGRAMS

“Our message is very, very simple: the United States will never allow the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons. These UN sanctions will continue the arms embargo.”

– Secretary Pompeo, August 20, 2020.

When we’ve seen any country violate our current sanctions, the current American sanctions, we’ve held every nation accountable for that. We’ll do the same thing with respect to the broader UN Security Council sanctions as well.
– Secretary Pompeo, August 19, 2020.

THE UNITED STATES IMPOSES SWEEPING MEASURES TO PRESSURE IRAN’S NUCLEAR, MISSILE, AND CONVENTIONAL ARMS EFFORTS

On September 19 at 8 p.m. Eastern time, virtually all UN sanctions on Iran were re-imposed. On September 21, to support these UN measures, the United States imposed sanctions on:

  •   Iranian persons directly involved in Iran’s activities that resulted in Iran’s accumulation of enriched uranium in excess of Iran’s commitments;
  •   Iranian persons on whom UN sanctions are being re-imposed; Iranian
    persons who support Iran’s ballistic missile programs and who have been associated with an Iranian organization that has played a key role in Iran-North Korea missile cooperation; and
  •   Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics and the illegitimate dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, under the new, broad sanctions
    authority pertaining to conventional arms related transfers to and from Iran that was issued by President Trump on September 21, 2020. Now that virtually all UN sanctions have been re-imposed on Iran, stakeholders worldwide are warned that the United States will aggressively use U.S. sanctions authorities to impose consequences for failures to comply with the snapped-back UN measures on Iran and ensure that Iran does not reap the benefits of UN-prohibited activity. NUCLEAR-RELATED MEASURES In recent months, Iran has not only continued to engage in nuclear extortion by expanding its uranium enrichment program, but also failed to fully address multiple, separate questions raised by the IAEA about possible undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. As a part of the fatally flawed nuclear deal, Iran made nuclear commitments that it has failed to uphold, including commitments related to the enrichment level of Iran’s uranium and the quantity of Iran’s enriched uranium, research and development involving advanced centrifuges, enrichment of uranium at the formerly clandestine Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, and
  • accumulation of heavy water. These actions are unacceptable and underscore the continued threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program to international peace and security.

On September 19, as a result of a U.S. initiative at the UN, UN nuclear-related restrictions on Iran snapped back, including a binding obligation on Iran to suspend all enrichment-related activities.

Today, the Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce took coordinated action to increase pressure on Iran’s nuclear program as a part of addressing this threat from the Iranian regime.

The Department of State designates, pursuant to E.O. 13382 (WMD Proliferators and Their Supporters), Hamid Reza Ghadirian and Ahmad Asghari Shiva’i, who are centrally involved in Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuge operations.

Hamid Reza Ghadirian is a Group Director in the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
(AEOI). Ghadirian has supported the installation of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges and has supported the installation of uranium enrichment centrifuges that are used to increase Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile. Ghadirian has arranged for the delivery of items needed to assemble Iranian centrifuges and has supervised centrifuge testing activities to ensure such centrifuges would work as intended. Ghadirian has participated in Iranian centrifuge operations that have resulted in Iran accumulating a stockpile of low enriched uranium in excess of that permitted by Iran’s JCPOA commitments.

Ahmad Asghari Shiva’i is the head of the TESA (the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company) Kashan Complex. In 2011, the State Department designated TESA pursuant to E.O. 13382. The TESA Kashan Complex, of which Shiva’i is the head, is located at AEOI’s Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility and is responsible for uranium gas centrifuge machine assembly, installation, and startup.

The Department of the Treasury designates, pursuant to E.O. 13382, Pezhman Rahimian, Behrouz Kamalvandi, the Nuclear Science and Technology Research Institute (NSTRI), Mesbah Energy Company, the Advanced Technologies Company of Iran (IATC), Javad Karimi Sabet, and Mohammad Qannadi.

Pezhman Rahimian is AEOI Deputy Head for Raw Material and Nuclear Fuel and the Managing Director of Iran’s Nuclear Fuel and Raw Materials Production Company. Rahimian has been involved in activities related to domestic manufacturing of fuel for Iranian nuclear reactors.

Behrouz Kamalvandi is the spokesman for AEOI. Kamalvandi has played a central role in Iran’s nuclear extortion, including threatening Europe that if it did not help Iran, then Iran would cease performing its nuclear commitments such that nothing would remain of the nuclear deal. NSTRI has research schools and laboratories related to plasma physics, nuclear fusion, and nuclear physics and accelerations.

Mesbah Energy Company is responsible for Iranian heavy water production.

UNSCR 2231 removed a number of individuals and entities from the UN sanctions list. During the five years that followed the adoption of UNSCR 2231, the Security Council failed to uphold

its mission maintaining international peace and security with regard to Iran, and not a single individual or entity was designated for sanctions under UNSCR 2231 during this five-year period. Today, to underscore that the U.S. will use our authorities to reinforce vitally important sanctions imposed by the UN, the Treasury Department is designating Javad Karimi Sabet and Mohammad Qannadi, upon whom UN sanctions were reimposed on September 19.

Javad Karimi Sabet is an AEOI Deputy Head and the head of NSTRI. Among his responsibilities, Sabet works on nuclear fuel research.

Mohammad Qannadi is the AEOI Deputy Head of Nuclear Planning and Strategic Supervision.

NSTRI, Mesbah, and IATC are being designated for being owned or controlled by
AEOI. Sabet, Kamalvandi, Rahimian, and Qannadi are being designated for acting for or on behalf of AEOI.

The Department of Commerce adds five Iranian nationals to the Commerce Department’s Entity List, which imposes specific U.S. license requirements for the export, reexport, or transfer of specific items. Specifically, Ahmad Nozad Gholik, Behnam Pouremadi, Hamid Sepehrian, Mojtaba Farhadi Ganjeh, and Sayyed Javad Ahmadi are being added to the Entity List for nuclear-related activities that are contrary to the national security and/or foreign policy of the United States.

Behnam Pouremadi, Hamid Sepehrian, and Mojtaba Farhadi Ganjeh are associated with Iran’s Jabber Ibn Hayan Laboratory (JHL), an AEOI lab that was designated by the UN Security Council in resolution 1803. Pouremadi has sought to acquire sensitive equipment and materials for AEOI using deceptive practices and obfuscation techniques. Ganjeh has worked with overseas Iranian procurement agents to acquire sensitive nuclear-related items, including Western items. He has also traveled overseas for training and has sought to obtain information in support of AEOI technical questions. Ahmad Nozad Gholik is associated with an AEOI subsidiary that implements various projects in the nuclear field and has worked with overseas Iranian procurement agents to procure sensitive items, including items that can be used in spent nuclear fuel reprocessing. Sayyed Javad Ahmadi is an AEOI employee who has traveled overseas for nuclear-related meetings.

MISSILE-RELATED MEASURES

Iran’s development and proliferation of ballistic missiles poses a critical threat to global security. The pace of Iran’s missile launches and tests did not diminish after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231, which weakened UN restrictions on Iran’s missile program. On the contrary, Iran continues to prioritize its missile force development. In the past year and a half, Iran has launched over 50 ballistic missiles. Iran has provided missile capabilities to its partners and proxies in the region.

On September 19, as a result of U.S. action at the UN, legally-binding restrictions on Iran’s missile program, including an obligation for Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, were snapped back.

The Department of the Treasury designates two Iranian missile officials and updates the sanctions listings for another Iranian missile leader and key Iranian missile organization. One of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO)’s subordinate organizations is the UN-designated Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which is in charge of liquid-propellant ballistic missile development.

Treasury is targeting this threat by designating Asghar Esma’ilpur and Mohammad Gholami pursuant to E.O. 13382. Esma’ilpur has served as the Director of SHIG’s Shahid Haj Ali Movahed Research Center. He is currently a senior official in Iran’s AIO. Mohammad Gholami was a long-time SHIG Shahid Haj Ali Movahed Research Center senior official. Both Esma’ilpur and Gholami participated in and supported the launch of a space launch vehicle that was launched with support and assistance from North Korean missile specialists.

Treasury is also updating the sanctions listing for SHIG’s Shahid Haj Ali Movahed Research Center, which was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 on January 17, 2016. SHIG’s Shahid Haj Ali Movahed Research Center is also known as SHIG Department 7500 and is responsible for the integration, final assembly, and testing of liquid propellant ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles. The Shahid Haj Ali Movahed Research Center has played a key role in Iran-North Korea missile cooperation. Treasury is also updating the sanctions listing for Seid Mir

Ahmad Nooshin, who was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 on January 17, 2016 and who was previously the Director of SHIG and now serves as the Director of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization. As the Director of SHIG, Nooshin was key to negotiations with the North Koreans on long-range missile development projects.

Treasury also designated a network of two entities and three individuals associated with the provision of support to SHIG. Iran-based Mammut Industries and Mammut Diesel are key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile program. Since the early 2000s, Mammut Industries has supported the production of ballistic missile equipment for Iran’s AIO and SHIG. As of late 2019, Mammut Industries continued to support SHIG’s production of ballistic missile equipment. Also being designated today are Mehrzad Ferdows, an owner and the CEO of Mammut Industries; Behzad Ferdows, another owner of Mammut Industries; and Mohammad Reza Dezfulian, who has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of Mammut Diesel.

CONVENTIONAL ARMS-RELATED MEASURES

Iran has continued to defy the international community by providing arms to groups abroad in contravention of the UN arms embargo, including to terrorist organizations and Iranian partners across the Middle East, such as in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain. These groups use Iranian weapons, training, and funding to destabilize the region and spread violence. In addition to Iran’s violation of the arms embargo with regard to Iran’s support for armed groups, Iran has also continued to use its arsenal of conventional weapons to directly destabilize the Middle East, including Iran’s brazen September 2019 attack on Saudi Arabia.

On September 19, as a result of U.S. action at the UN, the arms embargo with regard to Iran that was set to expire in October was extended indefinitely.

On September 21, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed a new Executive Order “Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to the Conventional Arms Activities of Iran” that provides a specific, durable authority to counter Iran’s conventional arms acquisitions, Iran’s indigenous manufacturing programs, and Iran’s ability to support paramilitary organizations with arms and materiel.

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Secretary Pompeo designates Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO) and its director Mehrdad Akhlaghi-Ketabchi, as well as the illegitimate dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, for having engaged, or attempted to engage, in activity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer directly or indirectly to or from Iran, or for the use in or benefit of Iran, of arms or related materiel, including spare parts.
For nearly two years, the corrupt Iranian and Venezuelan regimes have flouted the UN arms embargo. The two states have continued to exchange defense delegations and have spent significant resources to develop plans, which likely have progressed to include arms sales. The relationship between Iran’s Defense Industries Organization and its Director Mehrdad Akhlaghi- Ketabchi, the Iranian Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, and Venezuelan officials led by the illegitimate dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, are the basis for this most recent scheme. Our placing sanctions on Maduro today is a warning that should be heard clearly worldwide: no matter who you are, if you violate the UN arms embargo on Iran, you risk sanctions.
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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