The Biden administration on Wednesday enacted new sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile program in response to a missile attack on Erbil in Iraq earlier this month.
The Treasury Department announced the new sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps unit responsible for research and development of ballistic missiles, as well as Iran’s Parchin Chemical Industries and an Iranian intermediary who worked on procurement of parts for propelling missiles.
“Iran’s ballistic missile-related activities continue to destabilize the Middle East region, and the United States will continue to use every tool at our disposal to disrupt them,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday.
The new sanctions come as the US is still trying to reach an agreement with Iran to reenter the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. While US officials had said a deal seemed close earlier this month, there have been signs in recent days that it may not be imminent.
US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley told CNN’s Becky Anderson in Doha on Sunday that a nuclear deal “is not around the corner and is not inevitable” due to outstanding issues, including Tehran’s demands related to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Also on Sunday, Blinken said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that the US would counter hostile actions from Iran regardless of what happens with the nuclear agreement. “Deal or no deal, we will continue to work together and with other partners to counter Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region,” Blinken said.
The Treasury Department said Wednesday’s sanctions were being enacted following the March 13 missile attack on Erbil. The missiles landed near the US consulate building in Erbil that’s under construction, though the State Department said they did not hit any US facilities.
The Treasury statement also cited the “Iranian enabled Houthi missile attack against a Saudi Aramco facility on March 25 as well as other missile attacks by Iranian proxies against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” saying all of the attacks “are a reminder that Iran’s development and proliferation of ballistic missiles continues to pose a serious threat to international security.”
“While the United States continues to seek Iran’s return to full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we will not hesitate to target those who support Iran’s ballistic missile program,” Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement. “We will also work with other partners in the region to hold Iran accountable for its actions, including gross violations of the sovereignty of its neighbors.”