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US hits Iran with fresh sanctions as Trump term nears end

Anti-war activists hold banners during a protest organised by 'CodePink' in front of the White House on 4 January, 2020 in Washington, United States [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]
Anti-war activists hold banners during a protest organised by 'CodePink' in front of the White House on 4 January, 2020 in Washington, United States [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

The United States on Tuesday blacklisted a Chinese company that makes elements for steel production, 12 Iranian steel and metals makers, and three foreign-based sales agents of a major Iranian metals and mining holding company, seeking to deprive Iran of revenues as US President Donald Trump's term winds down, reports Reuters.

In a statement, the US Treasury Department named the China-based company as Kaifeng Pingmei New Carbon Materials Technology Co Ltd. (KFCC), saying it specialised in the manufacture of carbon materials and provided thousands of metric tonnes of materials to Iranian steel companies between December 2019 and June 2020.

Among the 12 Iranian companies blacklisted are the Pasargad Steel Complex and the Gilan Steel Complex Co, both of which were designated under Executive Order 13871 for operating in the Iranian steel sector.

The others are: Iran-based Middle East Mines and Mineral Industries Development Holding Co (MIDHCO), Khazar Steel Co, Vian Steel Complex, South Rouhina Steel Complex, Yazd Industrial Constructional Steel Rolling Mill, West Alborz Steel Complex, Esfarayen Industrial Complex, Bonab Steel Industry Complex, Sirjan Iranian Steel and Zarand Iranian Steel Co.

READ: Trump is 'conspiratorial' to start war with Iran, claims whistle-blower

The Treasury said it was also designating MIDHCO's Germany-based subsidiary GMI Projects Hamburg GmbH, its China-based World Mining Industry Co Ltd, and UK-based GMI Projects Ltd for being owned or controlled by MIDHCO.

"The Trump Administration remains committed to denying revenue flowing to the Iranian regime as it continues to sponsor terrorist groups, support oppressive regimes, and seek weapons of mass destruction," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement. Trump's term ends on January 20, when Democrat President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in to succeed him.

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