CNN reported that the Biden administration announced new sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile and drone programs on Wednesday.
The US Treasury Department said in a press release that it was imposing the sanctions on “11 individuals, eight entities and one vessel based in Iran, Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Venezuela that are allowing destabilize Iran’s ballistic missile and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs.”
Separately, the US State Department imposed sanctions on two Iranian officials “for engaging in activities that have materially contributed to Iran’s missile program,” as well as “two entities based in Iran and four entities based in Russia.”. Russia has been using Iranian drones in its war in Ukraine.
The sanctions come on the day remaining U.N. restrictions on Tehran’s ballistic missile program, which were part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, expire.
Countries such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom – known as the E3 – and the United States have made clear that they will maintain similar restrictions on Iran’s missile program through their national sanctions despite the expiration of the UN restrictions.
A senior State Department official stated on Wednesday, according to CNN: “We are very concerned about the proliferation of missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles by Iran,” and that is why they have tried to send “a resounding signal” to Tehran that that “we are not going to sit idly by.”
Iran has regularly carried out ballistic missile tests in recent years, raising the ire of Western powers who say the tests violate UN Security Council resolution 2231.
The resolution, which enshrined the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, says Iran is “urged” to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Iran has long denied that its ballistic missiles violate this UN resolution.
In addition to the new sanctions and joint statement, the Biden administration issued an advisory to private industry about Iran’s ballistic missile program on Wednesday, noting that “private industry is on the front lines of detecting and denying Iran’s efforts.”
Iranian officials have criticized Western countries’ decision to maintain sanctions against Tehran despite the expiration of UN restrictions as “illegal.”