The United States has imposed new sanctions against Iran, including an embargo targeting the Islamic Republic’s construction sector, in light of a claim by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the area is “being controlled directly or indirectly by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”
The US State Department announced the imposition of the new bans on Thursday.
It issued a fact sheet specifically singling out the sale of software used for industrial purposes, raw and semi-finished metals, graphite and coal used in Iran’s construction sector as targets for the new sanctions.
The US had previously imposed sanctions on a number of Iranian business companies and networks on the pretext of being tied to the IRGC after blacklisting it as a “terrorist” organization earlier this year. The IRGC is an official branch of the Iranian Armed forces.
Also on Thursday, the State Department announced a separate batch of sanctions against what it described as the sale of “strategic material” being used “in connection with Iran’s nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs.”
The State Department listed the sanctioned material as “stainless steel 304L tubes, MN40 manganese brazing foil, MN70 manganese brazing foil, and stainless steel CrNi60WTi ESR + VAR.”
The embargoes mark the latest round of Washington’s sweeping sanctions against Iran after the US government unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions lifted under the agreement last year.
The US has imposed a number of additional embargoes since.
Earlier this week, a Riyadh-based group composed of the US and its Arab allies introduced sanctions against 25 economic entities on the pretext of allegedly supporting the IRGC and Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah.
Washington’s sanctions against Iran have had widespread negative effects on the lives of ordinary Iranians, pushing up commodity prices and denying Iranians essential imported goods such as certain medical drugs.
Washington’s sanctions targeting Iran’s construction sector on Thursday may also make it further difficult for average Iranian households to attain affordable housing after US financial sanctions destabilized Iran’s real estate market last year.
The new sanctions also come a week after the US announced “a new humanitarian mechanism” to ensure shipments of food and medicine can continue to be delivered to Iran despite the sanctions.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has, however, highlighted that the new regulations will worsen “economic terrorism” targeting the Iranian people.