WASHINGTON (JTA) – The US Treasury Department officially linked Iran’s national oil company as an affiliate of that country’s military.

The Treasury Department stated September 24 that the National Iranian Oil Company is affiliated with the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Republic, or IRGC, thus enabling the United States to apply new sanctions on any foreign banks that deal with the oil company.

Congress had directed the Treasury Department to determine if Iran’s oil companies were linked to its brutal military when it leveled new sanctions this summer.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) applauded the designation. The report “tears down the false front and reveals the truth: that Iran’s oil company is a key element of the IRGC, the most hard-line and dangerous agency of the Iranian regime,” Berman wrote to JTA.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies congratulated the department and the US Congress “for their leadership in determining that the National Iranian Oil Company is inseparable from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the group responsible for the country’s illicit nuclear activities, brutal repression of domestic political opponents and acts of terrorism aboard,” in a statement released to JTA.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) called the Treasury Department’s announcement “long overdue” and “a critical step in cutting off Iran’s attempts to evade financial sanctions.”