US Treasury Sanctions Iranian-based Entities

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Dec. 2, 2017. (Mandel Ngan / AFP)
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Dec. 2, 2017. (Mandel Ngan / AFP)
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US Treasury Sanctions Iranian-based Entities

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Dec. 2, 2017. (Mandel Ngan / AFP)
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Dec. 2, 2017. (Mandel Ngan / AFP)

Washington has slapped sanctions on five Iranian companies alleged to have been working on an illegal ballistic missile program.

"These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, which the Iranian regime prioritizes over the economic well-being of the Iranian people," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The department said the sanctioned entities - the Shahid Eslami Research Center, Shahid Kharrazi Industries, Shahid Moghaddam Industries, Shahid Sanikhani Industries and Shahid Shustari Industries - were subordinated to the Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group.

The sanctions freeze any property the entities hold in the United States and prohibit Americans from dealing with them.

The Treasury’s move came as US senators and Trump administration officials met at the White House on Thursday, hoping to hammer out compromise legislation to tighten restrictions on Iran.

Senators Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ben Cardin, the panel's top Democrat, had an evening meeting with President Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, to discuss possible legislation, Senate and White House aides said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to meet Friday at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) to discuss Iran, days after US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called for an emergency session to discuss the anti-government protests taking place in several Iranian cities over economic hardships and corruption.



Israeli Polls Show Netanyahu Party Narrowing Gap Behind Gantz 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
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Israeli Polls Show Netanyahu Party Narrowing Gap Behind Gantz 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right wing Likud party has reduced the gap behind the centrist party of former minister Benny Gantz, who quit the wartime unity government on Sunday, two polls showed on Friday.

The polls, for the left wing Ma'ariv daily and the right-wing Israel Hayom newspaper, showed Likud winning 21 seats behind the National Unity Party on 24. The Ma'ariv poll last week showed Gantz's party on 27 seats, while at the start of the year, it was regularly polling in the high 30s.

The Ma'ariv poll shows the current ruling coalition winning 52 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, against 58 for the main opposition parties, with the balance of 10 seats held by the United Arab List and the left-wing Hadash-Ta'al alliance.

The Israel Hayom poll put the coalition on 50 seats against 61 for the opposition parties and 9 for the UAL and Hadash-Ta'al.

Both polls showed a majority of voters would prefer Gantz as prime minister in a head-to-head choice with Netanyahu. However, the Israel Hayom poll showed that if former prime minister Naftali Bennett were to join forces with Avigdor Liberman and Gideon Saar, two other center right politicians from outside the Likud camp, their alliance could beat both Likud and Gantz's National Unity Party.

Gantz, a former army general and defense minister in the last government, joined Netanyahu's coalition last year as a gesture of national unity following the devastating attack by Hamas on Oct 7.

However, he clashed repeatedly with other ministers and quit the government after demanding Netanyahu articulate a clear strategic plan for the war in Gaza, now in its ninth month.

Netanyahu, who was widely blamed for the security failures that allowed the Oct. 7 attack to take place, has refused to call early elections and would not normally face voters until 2026 if his coalition with a clutch of religious and right-wing pro-settler parties holds.