US rolls out new Iran sanctions after airstrikes
World News of Saturday, 11 January 2020
In a joint statement to the press on Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced a new raft of economic sanctions against several senior Iranian officials and major companies.
The financial penalties came as a response to Iranian airstrikes against US bases in Iraq, which were in turn in retaliation for the assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani had been the commander of the Quds Force, a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. He was also known to be in charge of attacks on US targets within Iraq.
“We don’t know exactly which day it would’ve been executed but it was very clear, Qassem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large-scale attack against American interests and those attacks were imminent,” Pompeo said.
New sanctions will target individuals and firms who own, operate, or assist “sectors of the Iranian economy including construction, manufacturing, textiles and mining,” Mnuchin said.
The plan is also to target the “inner heart of Iranian security apparatus” with the sanctions.
‘It is likely that plane was shot down by an Iranian missile’
While the Iranian airstrikes did not kill any US personnel, Pompeo said he believed it possible that the crash of a Ukrainian Airlines flight outside of Tehran on Wednesday that killed 176 civilians could have been caused by an Iranian missile launch.
“We do believe it’s likely that plane was shot down by an Iranian missile. We are going to let the investigation play out before we make a final determination,” he said.
Government officials in the US, UK, and Canada have said there is evidence that the crash was caused by a surface-to-air missile, though with the caveat that the passenger jet was not necessarily downed on purpose.
During the press conference, Mnuchin said sanction waivers would be given to anyone wanting to “help facilitate the investigation” into the crash.