According to the ministry's statement, Tehran has made the decision to sanction the institute and Dubowitz for allegedly spreading anti-Iranian propaganda that supports US "economic terrorism" against the Middle Eastern country.
Tensions between Iran and the US escalated last year following President Donald Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw his country from the nuclear deal (JCPOA) signed in 2015 and reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran. Later, Iran partially suspended its obligations under the deal and started to enrich uranium beyond the level outlined by the JCPOA. The US sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the Gulf in what it described as a "clear message" to Tehran following Iran's suspension of some of the deal's obligations.
Later, incidents involving the detention of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman added fuel to the fire, prompting Washington to blame Tehran for attacking the tankers. Iran denied the allegations, saying the US is looking for a pretext to stir up tensions in the region.
Last month, the US suggested creating an international maritime coalition to "ensure the freedom of navigation" in the area. Only the UK and Australia have joined the coalition so far. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said recently that the US failed to create an international maritime coalition in the Gulf because the country is "alone in the world and countries that are its friends are too ashamed of being in a coalition" with America.