Iranian Khaibar ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km
Iranian Khaibar ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kmWANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

The Biden administration on Wednesday unveiled new sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic missile and drone programs, CNN reported.

The US Treasury Department said in a news 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 enabling Iran’s destabilizing ballistic missile and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs.”

In a separate move, 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 on “two Iran-based entities and four Russia-based entities.” Russia has been using Iranian drones in its war in Ukraine.

The sanctions come on the day that the remaining UN restrictions on Tehran’s ballistic missile program, which were part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, expired.

Countries such as Germany, France, and the United Kingdom – known as the E3 – and the US made clear they will maintain similar constraints on Iran’s missile program through their own national sanctions, despite the expiration of the UN restrictions.

A senior State Department official said Wednesday, according to CNN, “We’re very concerned about Iran’s proliferation of missiles and UAVs,” and as such have sought to send “a resounding signal” to Tehran that “we’re not going to stand by.”

Iran has regularly carried out ballistic missile tests in recent years, raising the ire of Western powers, who said the tests are a violation of UN Security Council resolution 2231.

The resolution, which enshrined the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, says Iran is “called upon” 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 the joint statement, the Biden administration on Wednesday also issued a notice to private industry about Iran’s ballistic missile program, noting that “private industry is on the front line of detecting and denying Iran’s procurement efforts.”

Iranian officials have criticized the decision by Western countries to maintain sanctions on Tehran despite the expiration of the UN restrictions as “illegal.”