LONDON: The US has slapped economic sanctions on four Chinese and Russian companies that Washington claims helped to support Iran’s missile program.
The four were accused of “transferring sensitive technology and items to Iran’s missile program” and will be subject to restrictions on US government aid and their exports for two years, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
The sanctions, imposed on Wednesday, were against two Chinese-based companies, Chengdu Best New Materials and Zibo Elim Trade, as well as Russia’s Nilco Group and joint stock company Elecon.
“These measures are part of our response to Iran’s malign activities,” said Pompeo. “These determinations underscore the continuing need for all countries to remain vigilant to efforts by Iran to advance its missile program. We will continue to work to impede Iran’s missile development efforts and use our sanctions authorities to spotlight the foreign suppliers, such as these entities in the PRC and Russia, that provide missile-related materials and technology to Iran.”
The Trump administration has ramped up sanctions on Tehran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.
Earlier this week, Pompeo met Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, when the campaign of pressure on the Iranian regime was also discussed.
“I want to thank Kuwait for its support of the maximum pressure campaign. Together, we are denying Tehran money, resources, wealth, weapons with which they would be able to commit terror acts all across the region,” he said.
It is not yet clear how the incoming administration of Joe Biden will deal with Tehran and whether it wants to revive the nuclear deal which would be key reviving the country’s battered economy. The Iranian rial has lost about half of its value this year against the dollar, fueling inflation and deepening the damage to the economy.
Iran’s economy would grow as much as 4.4 percent next year if sanctions were lifted, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said last week.
The economy is expected to contract by about 6.1 percent in 2020 according to IIF estimates.