US, UK Issue New Sanctions on Iran

FILE - The US Treasury Department building, June 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
FILE - The US Treasury Department building, June 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
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US, UK Issue New Sanctions on Iran

FILE - The US Treasury Department building, June 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
FILE - The US Treasury Department building, June 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The US and UK on Thursday imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran after Tehran’s unprecedented attack on Israel.
US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control targeted 16 people and two entities in Iran that produce engines that power the drones used in the April 13 attack on Israel. 
The Treasury, in a statement, said it was also designating five companies in multiple jurisdictions providing component materials for steel production to Iran’s Khuzestan Steel Company (KSC), one of Iran’s largest steel producers, or purchasing KSC’s finished steel products.
Also targeted were three subsidiaries of Iranian automaker Bahman Group, which it said had materially supported Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The statement said the US Commerce Department was also imposing new controls to restrict Iran’s access to technologies, such as basic commercial grade microelectronics.
The UK's sanctions, which include asset freezes and travel bans, target Iran's defense minister and other military figures and organizations including the Armed Forces General Staff and the IRGC Navy.
"The Iranian regime's attack against Israel was a reckless act and a dangerous escalation," British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement. "Today we have sanctioned the ringleaders of the Iranian military and forces responsible for the weekend's attack."
Britain's sanctions, amounting to 13 in total, also target individuals whom it described as key actors within Iran's drone and missile industries. 

US President Joe Biden said G7 leaders were committed to acting together to increase economic pressure on Tehran.
Biden said the United States and its allies had helped Israel beat back the April 13 missile and drone strike and were now holding Iran accountable with the new sanctions and export controls.
"Our allies and partners have or will issue additional sanctions and measures to restrict Iran’s destabilizing military programs," Biden added.
“We will continue to deploy our sanctions authority to counter Iran with further actions in the days and weeks ahead," US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.
The action comes after US officials earlier this week warned that they were readying new sanctions in response to Iran’s activity in the region and to prevent future attacks. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill also have been quickly pushing forward legislation that would financially punish Iran and its leaders.
Iran’s attack on Israel early Sunday came in response to what it says was an Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Syria earlier this month. Israel’s military chief said Monday that his country will respond to the Iranian attack, while world leaders caution against retaliation, trying to avoid a spiral of violence.
European Union leaders also vowed on Wednesday to ramp up sanctions on Iran, targeting its drone and missile deliveries to proxies in Gaza, Yemen and Lebanon.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the existing EU sanctions regime would be strengthened and expanded to punish Tehran and help prevent future attacks on Israel. At the same time, he said, Israel needed to exercise restraint.
“I don’t want to exaggerate, but we are on the edge of a war, a regional war in the Middle East, which will be sending shockwaves to the rest of the world, and in particular to Europe,” he warned. “So stop it.”



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.