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US imposes sanctions on entire Iranian construction sector

TEHRAN: The US has imposed new sanctions on Iran, targeting the construction sector, despite Washington’s announcement a week ago that it had created a new mechanism to facilitate “permissible trade” with Tehran.

The US State Department issued a fact sheet Thursday, singling out the sale of software used for industrial purposes, raw and semi-finished metals, graphite and coal used in Iran’s construction sector as targets for the new sanctions.

The State Department said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had determined Iran’s construction sector was controlled directly or indirectly by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

The US has previously imposed sanctions on a number of Iranian business companies and networks on the pretext of being tied to the IRGC after blacklisting it as a “terrorist” organization earlier this year. The IRGC is an official branch of the Iranian armed forces.

Also on Thursday, the State Department announced a separate batch of sanctions against what it described as the sale of “strategic material” being used “in connection with Iran’s nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs.”

The State Department listed the sanctioned material as “stainless steel 304L tubes, MN40 manganese brazing foil, MN70 manganese brazing foil, and stainless steel CrNi60WTi ESR + VAR.”

The embargoes mark the latest round of Washington’s sweeping sanctions against Iran after the US government unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions lifted under the agreement last year.

The US has imposed a number of additional embargoes since.

Earlier this week, a Riyadh-based group composed of the US and its Arab allies introduced sanctions against 25 economic entities on the pretext of allegedly supporting the IRGC and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

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