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    An Iranian family walks past anti-US graffiti on the wall of the former US embassy in Tehran on July 14, 2015

    US Sanctions Airlines, Military Groups Linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards

    © AFP 2019 / ATTA KENARE
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    The US imposed harsh sanctions against the country's energy, aviation and shipping sectors on 5 November 2018 following Washington's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as Iran nuclear deal).

    The US Treasury Department has announced the introduction of new sanctions against Iran, adding Qeshm Fars Air and Armenia-based Flight Travel LLC airlines to the sanctions list. The sanctions also affect two military groups linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards that are allegedly operating on Syrian territory — the Fatemiyoun Division and Zaynabiyoun Brigade.

    The Treasury also sanctioned two Boeing 747 aircraft, designated EP-FAA and EP-FAB, over their links to Qeshm Fars Air, which allegedly makes regular cargo flights to Damascus carrying Iranian weapons on board.

    The Fatemiyoun Battalion is a predominantly Afghan Shiite militia, while the Zaynabiyoun Brigade is comprised of mostly Pakistani Shiites.

    "Treasury's targeting of Iran-backed militias and other foreign proxies is part of our ongoing pressure campaign to shut down the illicit networks the regime uses to export terrorism and unrest across the globe", Treasury head Steven Mnuchin said.

    Washington imposed tough sanctions against Iranian energy, aviation and shipping sectors on 5 November 2018 following the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal on 8 May 2018. The sanctions were designed to limit Tehran's ability to export crude oil and conduct international banking operations.

    READ MORE: Erdogan: Turkey Will Not Abide by US Sanctions on Iran

    At the same time, the US gave temporary waivers to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey, allowing them to buy Iranian crude in limited amounts for six months without being sanctioned. Iran has repeatedly threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, the only maritime exit for oil tankers coming from the Persian Gulf if its oil exports are impeded by the US sanctions.

    Other parties to the JCPOA slammed the US decision to pull-out and reaffirmed their commitment to the accord. The EU promised to develop a special mechanism to bypass American sanctions and allow European firms to continue doing business with Iran.

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