JEDDAH: The US on Friday imposed sanctions on companies in Iran and China for doing business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and on three Iranian entities over conventional arms proliferation.
They are the latest in a series of measures aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration, which ends on Jan. 20.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington had sanctioned seven companies, including Chinese-based Jiangyin Mascot Special Steel Co. and two people for shipping steel to or from Iran.
He said Iran’s Marine Industries Organization, Aerospace Industries Organization and the Iran Aviation Industries Organization had also been blacklisted over conventional arms proliferation.
Meanwhile, Tehran’s saber rattling continued on Friday as its Islami Revolutionary Guard Corps conducted a drill that saw “suicide drones” crash into targets and explode, triangle-shaped aircraft that strongly resembled those used in a 2019 attacks on the sites of Abqaiq and Khurais in Saudi Arabia.
Looking at the footage frame by frame, the triangle-shape drone appeared to have two fins on either side. This strongly resembles the so-called “Delta” drones used both in the Abqaiq and Khurais assault in September 2019, as well as a May 2019 attack on Saudi Arabia’s crucial East-West pipeline. Saudi Arabia showed damaged drones to journalists after the attacks, while UN experts included images of the drone in a report.
Meanwhile, the Arab coalition intercepted and destroyed three drones launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia toward Saudi Arabia, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The drones were detected and launched by the Houthis from Yemen’s Hodeidah province, Arab coalition spokesperson, Col. Turki Al-Malki, said.
He added that the Houthis continued to violate the Stockholm Agreement and the cease-fire in Hodeidah.
He said the Houthis continued to use Hodeidah province as a place for undertaking terrorist operations by firing ballistic missiles and launching drones.
He added that the militants also use the province as a place for launching remotely piloted boat attacks, which constitute a regional and international security threat.
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry “strongly condemned and denounced” the attack on Saudi territory and the Houthi militia’s “continuation of cowardly terrorist acts that endanger the safety and security of civilians.”
“Bahrain stands in one line with Saudi Arabia against anyone who tries to undermine its security and stability,” the ministry said.
In another blow to the militia, the US has rejected a UN plea to reverse the designation of Houthis as a terrorist organization.
The UN chief and top officials urged the US to reverse its decision to prevent massive famine and death in the Arab nation.
The US deputy ambassador, Richard Mills, told the Security Council the US has listened to warnings of the terrorist designation’s humanitarian impact and will take measures to reduce the impact on aid deliveries and commercial imports.
“But we do believe that this step is the right move forward to send the right signal if we want the political process to move forward,” he said.