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U.S. Blacklists Companies Operating in Iran’s Metals Industry (www.wsj.com)

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday imposed sanctions on nine entities allegedly operating in or providing materials to Iran’s metals sector, including four large Iranian steel, aluminum and iron producers and some of their foreign subsidiaries and sales agents.

The sanctions are the latest effort by the Trump administration to increase pressure on Iran. The Treasury Department alleged Iran’s government used revenue from metals exports to fund its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other malign activities in the Middle East. The White House has designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

“The United States remains committed to isolating key sectors of the Iranian economy until the revenues from such sectors are refocused toward the welfare of the Iranian people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement Thursday.

The sanctions further targeted Mobarakeh Steel Company, Iran’s largest steel producer. Mobarakeh has faced U.S. sanctions since 2018 for allegedly being used as a revenue stream for Bonyad Taavon Basij, an Iran-based network affiliated with the IRGC. The company was blacklisted again by the U.S. in January for operating in Iran’s steel sector.

The Treasury Department added to its blacklist two of Mobarakeh’s subsidiaries, including one based in Germany and involved in the wholesale metals and metal ores business in Europe. Three sales agents and trading companies for Mobarakeh that are based in the United Arab Emirates were also blacklisted Thursday.

The Treasury Department said the sales agents generated tens of millions of dollars annually from foreign sales of Mobarakeh’s products and contributed significantly to the billions of dollars generated overall by Iran’s steel, aluminum, copper and iron sectors.

Iranian aluminum producer South Aluminum Co., steel and iron producer Sirjan Jahan Steel Complex and iron producer Iran Central Iron Ore Co. were also blacklisted Thursday by the Treasury Department.

In a joint action, the U.S. State Department blacklisted Global Industrial and Engineering Supply Ltd., an entity with addresses in mainland China and Hong Kong, for allegedly providing graphite to Iran. Graphite is a critical material for Iran’s metals industry, the State Department said.

Efforts to reach Mobarakeh and Iran Central Iron Ore weren’t successful. South Aluminum, Sirjan Jahan Steel Complex and Global Industrial and Engineering Supply didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The sanctions announced Thursday block any assets the nine entities have within U.S. jurisdictions, prohibit U.S.-based companies and individuals from transacting with them and expose anyone doing business with them to potential penalties.

Write to Mengqi Sun at [email protected]

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