US blacklists more Iranian companies amid rumors of ‘sanctions flood’ to sink nuclear deal for good

US blacklists more Iranian companies amid rumors of ‘sanctions flood’ to sink nuclear deal for good

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the new sanctions listings on Tuesday, calling the people and companies involved part of a “global network of companies” that Iran allegedly uses to “advance its destabilizing military capabilities.”

Of the 10 sanctioned entities and individuals, however, only four are Iranian. Two companies based in mainland China, one in Hong Kong, and another in Brunei also found themselves in the web of US sanctions, for allegedly providing Iran with electronics and computer components – including those made in the US.

Among those sanctioned, the Treasury named Iran’s Hoda Trading and Artin San’at Tabaan Company, Hong Kong’s Proma Industry, Brunei’s Soltech Industry, and mainland China’s Naz Technology and DES International, as well as DES employees Shih Mei Sun and Chin-Hua Huang.

Iranian national Mohammad Banihashemi was named as working with DES on behalf of another sanctioned individual, Mohammad Soltanmohammadi, the British-Iranian dual national who allegedly runs DES under the alias Chung Lung Wang.

These companies and individuals were labeled a “network” that provided electronic components to Iran Communication Industries, an already-sanctioned enterprise the US accuses of serving the Iranian military.

Tuesday’s designations come after reports over the weekend that the Trump administration is preparing a “flood of sanctions” against Tehran over the next three months. The sanctions would make it impossible for the incoming Biden administration to re-establish the 2015 nuclear deal that President Donald Trump unilaterally took Washington out of in 2018, the Axios news platform reported, citing anonymous Israeli sources.

The Trump administration has maintained a hard line on Iran and, at times, employed advocates of “regime change” in Tehran such as John Bolton. While the outcome of the US presidential elections is still being litigated, one of the architects of the 2015 deal, Ben Rhodes, is already setting up international relations calls on behalf of presumptive President-elect Joe Biden.

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