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EghtesadOnline: Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi on Wednesday described the US’ fresh sanctions against banks and businesses as "psychological war" against the Iranian people.

"This measure stems from the US government's animosity toward the Iranian people and a clear mockery of legal and international norms," the official news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.  

The US Treasury on Tuesday announced fresh punitive measures on Iran, targeting several banks and companies as it seeks to ratchet up pressure on Tehran ahead of the second round of its sanction due to start on November 4.   

As part of the pressure campaign, Bank Mellat and Mehr Eqtesad Bank are the latest entities added to the list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) of the Treasury Departments' Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Financial Tribune reported.

The US is also imposing sanctions on Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company, Mobarakeh Steel Company and other companies linked to investment, commodities and engineering, according to an announcement on the treasury’s website. 

The new hostile measures come as the Trump administration hesitates to suggest or condone any sanctions as punishment for Saudi Arabia if it is indeed found responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  

The sanctions cover a multibillion-dollar financial network that allegedly supports the Basij resistance force affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In its statement, the treasury said Tuesday's action targets the Basij force for its connection to the IRGC and for supporting the IRGC’s Qods Force , along with Bonyad Taavon Basij and its network of intermediary companies and financial institutions,

The treasury claimed that Bank Mellat has provided Mehr Eqtesad Bank, an institution owned by Bonyad Taavon Basij, with dividends, interest free loans, and lines of credit.

The treasury said that as a result of Tuesday's action, all property and interests in property of these entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.  OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by US persons or within (or transiting) the US that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons. 

Unilateral Move 

Asadollah Abbasi, a member of the Majis Presiding Board, told the Majlis news website ICANA that by imposing the new sanctions, the US is promoting "demagoguery" and that US sanctions have lost their efficacy on the international scene. 

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, repudiated the new restriction on Iran’s businesses, saying Washington appears to be taking every opportunity to exert pressure on countries it dislikes.

"Regardless of what reasons, under what pretexts and against which countries the US imposes unilateral sanctions, we firmly oppose it,” Ryabkov told Russian state news agency Sputnik.

“The unacceptability of unilateral extraterritorial sanctions as a foreign policy tool has been and remains the core of our position. We see that Washington respects no limits in the pursuit of exerting pressure on countries it dislikes, including Iran," he added.

US President Donald Trump announced in May that he  was pulling out of the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on Tehran's nuclear program.

The deal was signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- plus Germany in 2015.

The US administration reintroduced the previous sanctions while imposing new ones. It also introduced punitive measures against third countries doing business with Iran.

A first round of American sanctions took effect in August, targeting Iran's access to the US dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector. A second round, forthcoming on November 4, will be targeting Iran's energy sector and financial transactions.

Intro: The US is also imposing sanctions on Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company, Mobarakeh Steel Company and other companies linked to investment, commodities and engineering

Highlight: Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi described the US’ fresh sanctions against banks and businesses as "psychological war"


Iran Bahram Qasemi US sanctions Foreign Ministry psychological war