US, Gulf allies sanction dozens of Iran-Hezbollah entities
The US and six Gulf allies on Wednesday announced sanctions targeting 25 entities associated with Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The sanctions were set by Riyadh-based Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, a two-year-old group that includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE in addition to the United States.
They targeted companies supporting the Basij Resistance Force, a subordinate group of the Revolutionary Guard, that the Treasury said are used "to oppress domestic opposition with brutal displays of violence" and supply fighters to regional conflicts.
Among the 25 targeted was Iranian Bank Mellat and mining, manufacturing and investment firms that allegedly support the Basij.
Four of those listed were individuals running Hezbollah's operations in Iraq, the Treasury said.
All 25 have previously been named in US Treasury sanctions announced in 2018.
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"The TFTC's coordinated disruption of the financial networks used by the Iranian regime to fund terrorism is a powerful demonstration of Gulf unity," said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.
"This action demonstrates the unified position of the Gulf nations and the United States that Iran will not be allowed to escalate its malign activity in the region," said Mnuchin, who addressed a business forum in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Tensions have escalated between Iran and Washington since May last year when Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 nuclear accord and began reimposing sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
Earlier this month, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - an international body combating terrorist financing - said it had given Iran until February 2020 to comply with international norms, after which it would urge members to apply counter-measures.