The US has blacklisted two Iranian foundations allegedly linked to the leadership, the latest move to reinforce its maximum pressure campaign against Tehran.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Department said that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned “two organisations, along with their leaders and subsidiaries, controlled by the Supreme Leader of Iran, the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), and Astan Quds Razavi (AQR)”.
According to the OFAC, the sanctioned organisations “control large swaths of the Iranian economy, including assets expropriated from political dissidents and religious minorities, to the benefit of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian government officials”.
“These institutions enable Iran’s elite to sustain a corrupt system of ownership over large parts of Iran’s economy,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted as saying in the statement.
“The US will continue to target those who enrich themselves while claiming to help the Iranian people,” he added.
According to the statement, all property and interests of the property of designated individuals and entities in the US have been blocked, and American persons are generally prohibited from transactions with them.
In addition, persons and foreign financial institutions that engage in certain transactions with them may be exposed to sanctions.
The administration of outgoing President Donald Trump has doubled down maximum pressure campaign against Iran in its waning days.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of ties to terrorist group Al Qaeda, saying Iran had become a “new home base” for the terror group.
Iran immediately refuted the allegation.
“From designating Cuba to fictitious Iran ‘declassifications’ and AQ claims, Mr. ‘we lie, cheat, steal’ is pathetically ending his disastrous career with more warmongering lies,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet.
“No one is fooled. All 9/11 terrorists came from @SecPompeo’s favourite ME destinations; NONE from Iran,” he added.
Relations between Washington and Tehran have deteriorated since May 2018 when Trump pulled his country out of the Iranian nuclear deal and re-imposed harsh sanctions against Iran.
In response, Tehran has gradually dropped some of its JCPOA commitments since May 2019.