The U.S. Treasury Department has announced new designations aimed at undercutting Iran's support for terrorism.
Several senior members of Iran's Qods Force -- the arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps dedicated to exporting terrorism -- were named for their roles in providing financial and material support to terrorist groups in the Middle East and South Asia. The groups include Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Taliban. Reza Musavi, a Syria-based Iranian official was also named.
In addition, the Treasury Department sanctioned 2 organizations in Lebanon that support terrorist groups. They are the Iranian Committee for the Reconstruction of Lebanon and the Lebanon branch of the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, which provide aid to Hezbollah. As a result of the designations, all transactions involving these individuals or entities and U.S. citizens are prohibited, and any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.
The Treasury Department also identified 21 companies conducting business outside of Iran that are owned or controlled by the Iranian government under names not easily identifiable as Iranian. Such public identification, said Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey, helps American citizens comply with U.S. law banning transactions with companies owned or controlled by Iran, and also "assists others around the world who seek to protect themselves from the risks posed by doing business with those entities."
The moves by the Treasury Department follow a series of sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on Iran over its illicit nuclear proliferation activities. The UN Security Council, the EU, Canada, the United States, and Australia have all adopted new measures in recent weeks.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley says the mounting pressure on Iran "is having an effect on the ground... It is getting increasingly difficult to do business in Iran. The cost of doing business for Iran is going up. And we are encouraged by what we're seeing."