The administration of US President Donald Trump has imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran in a last-ditch attempt to ramp up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic before he leaves office in January.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the US Treasury Department blacklisted the Mostazafan Foundation of Islamic Revolution, a large charitable organization for the poor and the disabled that answers to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
The sanctions also target Parviz Fattah, the head of the foundation, and 50 of its subsidiaries in sectors such as energy, mining, logistics, information technology, and financial services.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) described the charity as a “multibillion-dollar economic empire” and “an immense conglomerate of some 160 holdings in key sectors of Iran’s economy, including finance, energy, construction, and mining.”
It further designated several Mostazafan Foundation deputies, who are appointed by and report directly to Fattah, for what they called key business functions for the organization.
The Treasury also imposed sanctions on Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi and alleged that his office had played “a central role” in human rights abuses against Iranian citizens.
Firms, individuals and other entities targeted by US sanctions are subject to asset freezes and Americans are generally barred from doing business with them.
‘A sign of desperation’
Reacting to the US blacklisting, Fattah tweeted, “The struggle of the declining US government cannot impact the foundation’s anti-sanction activities and its productivity.”
He also described Trump as “a loser and disturbed person.”
Additionally, the spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York, called the new US sanctions “a sign of desperation” by Trump’s administration.
“These latest attempts to continue a failed policy of ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran and its citizens will fail, just as all other attempts have,” Alireza Miryousefi said.
The Trump administration unleashed the so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran in May 2018, when it left the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
It targeted the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” economic sanctions in order to force it into submission.
However, the pressure campaign has failed in its objectives, including renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal to cover the Islamic Republic’s national defense program and its influential role in the Middle East.