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US issues Iranian sanctions over alleged WMD research

A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility. - [ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images]
A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility [ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images]

The US sanctioned an Iranian organisation and its chief Thursday for alleged activities related to chemical weapons research, the latest such tranche of economic penalties on Tehran in the final days of the Trump administration, Anadolu Agency reports.

The newly-designated entity is Shahid Meisami Group, as well as its director, Mehran Babri.

The administration accuses the group of being linked to the Iranian Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), an organisation Washington said is linked to Iran's covert attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction and means to deliver them. The Shahid Meisami Group is accused of being responsible for millions of dollars in SPND projects.

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Those include "testing and producing chemical agents and optimizing them for effectiveness and toxicity for use as incapacitation agents," according to the Treasury Department.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused Tehran of actively developing chemical weapons, calling it "a threat to the security of its neighbors and the world."

"The United States will continue to counter any efforts by the Iranian regime to develop chemical weapons that may be used by the regime or its proxy groups to advance their malign agenda," he said.

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