The Trump administration imposed new sanctions against 10 individuals and eight entities Monday to pressure Iran to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and its support for proxies in regional conflicts.
In a press briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was sanctioning Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for his assistance in aiding Tehran’s weapons programs.
Additionally, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, announced sanctions on six individuals and three entities associated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and three individuals and four entities associated with Iran's liquid propellant ballistic missile organization, the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group.
"No matter who you are, if you violate the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, you risk sanctions," Pompeo said. "Our actions today are a warning that should be heard worldwide."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon was preparing for "future Iranian aggression" and suggested the Islamic Republic "act like a normal country."
"We will protect our people and our interests and maintain the security of like-minded nations across the region," Esper said.
The move comes two days after the Trump administration said it had invoked a "snapback" provision of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, negotiated by the Obama administration, restoring sanctions on the country saying it had not lived up to its promises in the agreement.
However, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Gutteres wrote in a letter to the Security Council all 15 members of the council must agree to restore the sanctions for them to be reinstated.
President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018, while others such as Germany, Britain, Russia, China, and the European Union continued to abide by it.
Critics say the U.S. withdrawal negates its ability to trigger the "snapback" provision, but the Trump administration says it has legal standing as an original signer to the deal.
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