01:32 GMT +316 June 2019
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    A man enters the US Treasury Department building on Pennsylvania Avenue on January 24, 2017, in Washington, DC.

    US Imposes Sanctions Against Iraq-Based Company, Two Individuals Over Alleged Links to Iran

    © AFP 2019 / PAUL J. RICHARDS
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    The United States imposed new sanctions against Iran, targeting two persons and one entity over their alleged links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the Treasury Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

    The Treasury said the two Iraqi nationals, as well as the South Wealth Resources Company in Baghdad, are linked to the overseas branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, or the Qods Force.

    "The IRGC-QF has used Iraq-based SWRC, also known as Manabea Tharwat al-Janoob General Trading Company, as a front to smuggle hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to its proxies inside Iraq," the Treasury said in a press release.

    SWRC and the two individuals - Makki Kazim ‘Abd Al Hamid Al Asadi (Makki Kazim Al Asadi) and Muhammed Husayn Salih al-Hasani - have also covertly facilitated the IRGC-QF’s access to the Iraqi financial system to evade sanctions, the release added.

    "This scheme also served to enrich previously sanctioned Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi advisor to IRGC-QF Commander Qasem Soleimani, who has run weapons smuggling networks and participated in bombings of Western embassies and attempted assassinations in the region," the Treasury said. Muhandis is already subject to US sanctions.

    Since pulling out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, last May, the US has reinstated all sanctions against Tehran and introduced more.

    Tensions between Iran and the US have been running high since Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal on 8 May 2018. Since then, the Trump administration has beefed up pressure on Tehran, having imposed tougher sanctions.

    Furthermore, US National Security Advisor John Bolton announced on May 5 that Washington was deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to send a "clear and unmistakable message" to Iran that any attack on American interests or those of its allies would be met with "unrelenting force".

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    U.S, Iran sanctions, Iran
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