WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Friday it was imposing sanctions on 14 people and 17 entities connected to Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), a body it said had played a central role in Iran’s past nuclear weapons effort.
Among those designated for sanctions was the Shahid Karimi group, which works on missile and explosive-related projects for the SPND, and four associated individuals, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a Statement.
“The U.S. government is taking decisive action against actors at all levels in connection with Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) who have supported the Iranian regime’s defence sector,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
“The United States will continue applying maximum pressure to the Iranian regime, using all economic tools to prevent Iran from developing weapons of mass destruction. Anyone considering dealing with the Iranian defence industry in general, and SPND in particular, risks professional, personal, and financial isolation.”
It said the steps targeted current SPND subordinate groups, supporters, front companies, and associated officials. The move freezes any U.S. assets of those targeted and bans U.S. dealings with them.
“Today’s action serves as a warning to individuals and entities considering dealing with the Iranian regime’s defence sector in general, and SPND in particular: by engaging in sanctionable activity with designated Iranian persons, you risk professional, personal, and financial isolation,” the Treasury statement said.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that Tehran was determined to boost its defence capabilities despite mounting pressure from the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile programme.
Reporting by Susan Heavey, Mohammad Zargham, David Brunnstrom and Tim Ahmann; Editing by David Alexander and Susan Thomas