The United States has imposed another round of Iran-related sanctions, a statement released by US Treasury Department said. According to the department, the Office of Foreign Assets Control blacklisted an entity, the Shahid Meisami Group and its director, saying the group is involved in Tehran’s chemical research and is connected with the banned Iranian Organisation of Defensive Innovation and Research, also known as the SNPD.
“The United States designated SPND in 2014 in connection with the Iranian regime’s proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or their means of delivery”, read the statement released by the Treasury Department.
The development comes two weeks after the Treasury announced sanctions against dozens of individuals and entities. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously said that more restrictions will be imposed on the Islamic Republic in the coming weeks and months.
The Maximum Pressure campaign against the Iranian regime continues to be effective. It deprives the regime of funds to carry out its malign activities. Reducing that pressure is a dangerous choice, bound to weaken new regional partnerships for peace and strengthen the regime.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 18, 2020
Biden's Plan to Revive JCPOA and Other Ways to Pressure Iran
At the beginning of November, Axios wrote, citing two unnamed Israeli sources, that President Donald Trump wants to prevent Democrat Joe Biden from bringing the United States back into the Iran nuclear agreement, which Trump once described as the "worst deal ever".
The accord was signed in 2015 by China, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Tehran.
Under the deal, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions and the arms embargo.
Despite warnings and criticism from other signatories, Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018, prompting Tehran to renege on its commitments. However Biden, who is projected to win the 2020 election, signalled that he wants to revive the deal.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif signalled that Tehran will fulfil the agreement’s obligations if Washington returns to the agreement.
The US is still a UN member. If it meets its obligations as such under UNSCR 2231, we will fulfill ours under the #JCPOA.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) November 18, 2020
If the US then seeks to re-join the JCPOA, we're ready to negotiate terms for it to regain its "JCPOA Participant" status.https://t.co/cQXJo8PZak
Sanctions are not the only option the Trump administration could use to make things difficult for Biden to revive the Iran nuclear deal. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing officials familiar with the matter, that Trump had asked his advisers about a potential military strike on an Iranian nuclear site. The newspaper writes that the president was dissuaded by his aides from attacking the Islamic Republic.
11 days after the WSJ report, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist, dubbed the father of Iran’s nuclear programme, was assassinated while he was riding in a car. Tehran blamed the attack on Israel.