The U.S. slapped Iran with broad new sanctions Wednesday, as State Secretary Mike Pompeo asserted that reversing the actions of the Trump administration would be idiotic and dangerous.
The sanctions aim to blacklist a foundation started by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and put in the U.S. crosshairs the country's human rights violations a year following a deadly clampdown on anti-government rioters.
In a statement, the U.S. Treasury said it is adding to its blacklist Iran economic conglomerate Bonyad Mostazafan Foundation, whose holdings it claims were seized from the Iran people and used by Khamenei to "enrich his office, reward his political allies and persecute the regime's enemies," Voice of America reported.
The sanctions will freeze any U.S. assets of entities targeted and generally prevent Americans from engaging in business with the foundation. Anyone who engages in certain dealings with these groups runs the risk of being hit with U.S. sanctions.
At the same time, Pompeo disclosed a statement titled "The Importance of Sanctions on Iran," which contended that the Trump administration's sanctions against the Islamic republic "made the world safer" and should not be undone.
Wednesday's sanctions are part of the latest moves in the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" against Iran. Trump has backed out of the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015 by former U.S. President Barack Obama since Trump was elected in 2016.
Also targeted is Iran's Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, who the U.S. claims played a role in the Iran regime's human rights violations against its citizens. The Trump administration seeks to increase the burden on Iran before president-elect Joe Biden takes office.
The representative for Iran's mission to the United Nations in New York, Alireza Miryousefi, called the new sanctions as a "sign of desperation" by the outgoing U.S. president. "It will fail, just as all other attempts have," Miryousefi said.