US and Britain announce new sanctions against Iran after attack on Israel

Measures target entities enabling Iran’s drone production and supporting the IRGC, impose new controls to restrict Iran’s access to technologies

File: In this photo released by the Iranian army on Oct. 3, 2023, drones are launched during the air force nationwide drone drill centered in northern Semnan province, Iran. (Iranian Army via AP)
File: In this photo released by the Iranian army on Oct. 3, 2023, drones are launched during the air force nationwide drone drill centered in northern Semnan province, Iran. (Iranian Army via AP)

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced a series of sweeping sanctions Thursday targeting leaders and entities tied to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Tehran’s defense ministry and its missile and drone program following last weekend’s missile and drone attack against Israel.

The United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions on 16 individuals and two entities that it said enable Iran’s UAV production and testing as well as proliferation to actors that work on behalf of the IRGC.

The Treasury Department also sanctioned five companies that provide or purchase steel production materials to Iran’s Khuzestan Steel Company, a US-designated entity.

It also sanctioned Iranian automaker Bahman Group and three of its subsidiaries, “which have continued to materially support the IRGC and other designated entities,” the State Department said.

The US Commerce Department simultaneously imposed new controls to restrict Iran’s access to technologies, the State Department added.

The United Kingdom is concurrently imposing sanctions targeting several Iranian military organizations, individuals and entities involved in Iran’s UAV and ballistic missile industries, the Treasury Department added.

The sanctions come after Iran launched more than 300 missiles, drones and rockets at Israel over the weekend, in retaliation for an alleged Israeli strike on April 1 on a site in Damascus that Iran said was a consular building, which killed two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps generals and several other officers.

An Iranian military truck carries an Arash drone during a military parade as part of a ceremony marking the country’s annual army day in the capital Tehran on April 17, 2024. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Israel and its allies shot down the vast majority of the drones and missiles and the attack caused only one injury, but concerns about a potential Israeli reprisal have nevertheless stoked fears of all-out regional war.

“Let it be clear to all those who enable or support Iran’s attacks: The United States is committed to Israel’s security. We are committed to the security of our personnel and partners in the region, and we will not hesitate to take all necessary action to hold you accountable,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement announcing the sanctions.

“As I discussed with my fellow G7 leaders the morning after the attack, we are committed to acting collectively to increase economic pressure on Iran. And our allies and partners have or will issue additional sanctions and measures to restrict Iran’s destabilizing military programs,” he said, pointing out that his administration has already sanctioned over 600 individuals and entities tied to Iran.

An Iranian drone is seen shortly before being shot down by an Israeli Air Force fighter jet, April 14, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Foreign Minister Israel Katz thanked Biden for his “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.”

“President Biden has called on all G7 partners to take the same path,” the foreign minister wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “This is our opportunity to form a global front and a regional coalition against Iran, together with the US, the EU, and moderate Arab states, to stop the serpent’s head that threatens global stability. We must stop Iran now before it’s too late.”

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also said Thursday there needed to be a review to improve the sanctions system in the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel.

“We will have to review the system” of sanctions “in order to enlarge it and make it more efficient,” Borrell told reporters on the island of Capri, where the G7 is holding a meeting.

He said that since July 2023 there have been limits on exports to Iran by European firms of “the components that allow the production of these kind of arms.”

“So we will increase it,” he said. “The important thing is the implementation of our decision.”

He also called for restraint from Israel, saying the region was “on the edge” of war.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has vowed a response to the Iranian aerial attack, which was mostly intercepted, while world leaders have urged de-escalation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel reserves “the right to protect itself” following the Iranian attack. Israeli officials have not said when or where the country would retaliate.

At the United Nations on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that Tehran would make Israel “regret” any attack on his country.

“Iran’s legitimate defense and counter measures have been concluded. Therefore, the terrorist Israeli regime must be compelled to stop any further military adventurism against our interests,” the minister told the UN Security Council during a meeting on the Middle East.

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