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    a Ghadr-H missile, center, a solid-fuel surface-to-surface Sejjil missile and a portrait of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are displayed at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran

    US Slaps Sanctions on Five Iranian Nationals, Seven Entities Dealing With Tehran

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    The US-Iran tensions have drastically deteriorated since US unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal, also known as JCPOA, and re-introduction of sanctions against Tehran.

    Washington on Thursday slapped sanctions on five individuals and seven entities in relation to Iran's nuclear programme, as well as over non-proliferation matters, according to the Treasury Department’s website.

    "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)."

    This is the second batch of Iran-related sanctions that the US has announced on Thursday, with Vice President Mike Pence also stating that Washington had imposed sanctions against two Iraqi militia leaders that are allegedly funded by Iran.

    "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.

    While Pence didn't provide any details, the US Treasury announced earlier in the day that a total of four Iraqi nationals have been slapped with sanctions, including two former Iraqi governors, Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan and Ahmed al-Jubouri, and two militia leaders, Rayan al-Kildani and Waad Qado. The sanctions were imposed due to suspicions of human rights violations and acts of corruption allegedly committed by the four.

    Previously, the US imposed sanctions against two Iraqi nationals, Makki Kazim Al Asadi and Muhammed Husayn Salih al-Hasani, as well as against South Wealth Resources Company in Baghdad over allegedly helping Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) access the Iraqi financial system in order to evade American sanctions. They are also suspected of smuggling "hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of weapons" for militants, whom the US suspects of being supported by the IRGC.

     US soldiers stand near the landmark Hands of Victory, built by executed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to commemorate Iraq's victory in the Iran-Iraq war, inside Baghdad's Green Zone as they prepare to go on a mission on July 5, 2008
    © AFP 2019 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
    US soldiers stand near the landmark "Hands of Victory", built by executed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to commemorate Iraq's victory in the Iran-Iraq war, inside Baghdad's Green Zone as they prepare to go on a mission on July 5, 2008

    US Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, claimed in April that Iran and its alleged "proxies" in Iraq were responsible for the deaths of 608 American soldiers in the Middle Eastern country, along with many more Iraqi citizens, without specifying the number. He further said that Tehran was allegedly trying to bring Iraq "under [its] control". Iran left these claims without a comment.

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