US imposes fresh sanctions on Iran entity

In a statement on Thursday, the Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Shahid Meisami Group and its director Mehran Babri…reports Asian Lite News

The US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions against an Iranian entity and its director allegedly related to Iran’s chemical weapons research.

In a statement on Thursday, the Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Shahid Meisami Group and its director Mehran Babri.

The Shahid Meisami Group is “involved in Iran’s chemical weapons research and is subordinate to the Iranian Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, also known as SPND”, the statement said.

The US had designated SPND in 2014 in connection with the Iranian regime’s proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or their means of delivery.

The Group “has been responsible for numerous SPND projects, the cost of which totalled in the millions of US dollars”, the statement said.

These projects include testing and producing chemical agents and optimising them for effectiveness and toxicity for use as incapacitation agents, it added.

Before being appointed the head of Shahid Meisami Group, Babri had worked at Iran’s Defence Chemical Research Lab, according to the Treasury Department.

“Iran’s development of weapons of mass destruction is a threat to the security of its neighbours and the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The US will continue to counter any efforts by the Iranian regime to develop chemical weapons that may be used by the regime or its proxy groups to advance their malign agenda,” he added.

Thursday’s designation came days after the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last week near the capital city Tehran.

Iran on Tuesday reiterated that it would punish the “perpetrators and commanders” in this assassination.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month threatened that Washington would impose more sanctions against Iran in the coming weeks and months.

In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reimposed harsh sanctions against Tehran.

In response, Iran has gradually dropped some of its JCPOA commitments since May 2019.

Also read:India to press for Iran, Venezuela Oil as Trump leaves