President Barack Obama's administration is preparing new sanctions on international companies and individuals over Iran's ballistic missile program, sources familiar with the situation said on Wednesday, according to the Reuters news agency.
According to the report, the potential sanctions would target about 12 companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their suspected role in developing Iran's ballistic missile program.
U.S. officials have said the Treasury Department retains a right under July's nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers to blacklist Iranian entities suspected of involvement in missile development.
In October, Iran conducted a ballistic missile test, eliciting strong condemnation from members of the UN Security Council.
A team of UN sanctions monitors said in a confidential report seen by Reuters on December 15 that a medium-range Emad rocket that Iran tested on October 10 was a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, making it a violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
Diplomats have said it was possible for the sanctions committee to blacklist additional Iranian individuals or entities over the missile launch. But they said Russia and China, which have opposed the sanctions on Iran's missile program, might block any such actions.
Iran has rejected claims that the missiles it is testing are capable of delivering a nuclear warhead and has also rejected the idea that the missile tests are against UN resolutions.
According to Reuters, the planned Treasury Department sanctions concerned two Iran-linked networks involved in developing the country’s missile program and include many of the people involved.
The sanctions would prohibit U.S. or foreign nationals from conducting business with the companies. U.S. banks would also be required to freeze any assets the companies or individuals hold inside the American financial system.
Among those targeted would be UAE-based Mabrooka Trading Co LLC and its founder, Hossein Pournaghshband, for aiding Iranian state companies in acquiring carbon fiber for Iran’s missile program.
The Treasury is also preparing to sanction five Iranian officials at the country’s defense ministry and its subsidiaries for work on the ballistic-missile program, according to the report.