These sanctions were announced by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, during a press conference on March 17, blacklisting nine entities based in South Africa, Hong Kong and China, as well as three Iranian individuals, for engaging in “significant transactions” to trade in the Iranian regime’s petrochemicals.
.@SecPompeo comments on the Iranian regime’s misinformation campaign surrounding the Virus that originated in Wuhan and describes ways the United States continues to try to help the people of Iran. pic.twitter.com/9eekimqxCW
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 18, 2020
Secretary Pompeo said the step included blacklisting Iran’s armed forces social security investment company and its director for investing in sanctioned entities.
“The Department of State is today also sanctioning nine entities based in South Africa, in Hong Kong, and in China, as well as three Iranian individuals, all for knowingly engaging in significant transactions for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petrochemical products from Iran, the world’s largest leading state sponsor of terror,” said Secretary Pompeo.
Separately, the Commerce Department said it will add six people – including five Iranian nuclear scientists – and 18 corporations to the U.S. “Entity List” for aiding Iran’s nuclear program, Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear and missile programs, and Russian military modernization efforts.
In this regard, Secretary Pompeo said: “In response to Iran regime’s unacceptable nuclear escalations, the Department of Commerce is adding five Iranian nuclear scientists to the entities list.”
Secretary Pompeo urged the Iranian regime to free U.S. citizens it has detained because of the coronavirus outbreak.
In this regard, Secretary Pompeo said: “I also want to call attention to the Iranian regime’s misinformation campaign surrounding the origination of the Wuhan virus. Instead of focusing on the needs of the Iranian people and accepting genuine offers of support, senior Iranians lied about the Wuhan virus outbreak for weeks.”
“The Iranian leadership is trying to avoid responsibility for their grossly incompetent and deadly governance. Sadly, the Iranian people have been suffering these kinds of lies for 41 years. They know the truth: The Wuhan virus is a killer and the Iranian regime is an accomplice,” he added.
While underlining that the U.S. government is prepared to help the Iranian people, but not the regime, Secretary Pompeo said: “In the spirit of humanitarian gestures, the United States also continues to call on Iran to immediately release all wrongfully detained Americans being held inside of that country. We will continue to hold the regime responsible for its terror and we will continue to assist the Iranian people.”