US sanctions Iran's construction sector

State Department announces sanctions on Iran’s construction sector and trade in four materials used in its military or nuclear programs.

Elad Benari ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

The United States announced on Thursday it had imposed sanctions on Iran’s construction sector and trade in four materials used in its military or nuclear programs.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that Pompeo “made two determinations with sanctions implications pursuant to Section 1245 of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA): one identifying the construction sector of Iran as being controlled directly or indirectly by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); and one identifying four strategic materials as being used in connection with Iran’s nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs.”

“With these determinations, the United States will have additional authorities to prevent Iran from acquiring strategic materials for the IRGC, its construction sector, and its proliferation programs,” she added.

“The United States is resolute in its commitment to negotiating enduring restrictions that deny Iran any pathway to a nuclear weapon and to using the full range of our diplomatic and economic tools to constrain Iran’s destabilizing proliferation activities. As long as the Iranian regime continues to reject diplomacy and to expand its nuclear program, the economic pressure and diplomatic isolation will intensify,” the statement said.

Thursday’s announcement comes a day after the United States and six Gulf allies announced sanctions on 25 entities associated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Lebanese-based Hezbollah terrorist organization.

Among the 25 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. All 25 have previously been named in US Treasury sanctions announced in 2018.

The US has increased the pressure on Iran over the past year and a half, ever since President Donald Trump withdrew from 2015 nuclear deal in May of 2018.

Last month Trump announced that he had ordered a “substantial increase” in sanctions on Iran.