US clamping down on Iran and proxies

US officials named Ahmad al-Hamidawi, secretary-general of Kata’ib Hezbollah, a “specially designated global terrorist."
Sunday 01/03/2020
State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales. (AP)
State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales. (AP)

LONDON - The United States is cracking down on Iran and its proxies, imposing additional sanctions on connected individuals, companies and entities in an attempt to hamstring Tehran’s financial network.

The US government announced sanctions on 13 foreign entities and individuals in China, Iraq, Russia and Turkey that allegedly provided support for Iran’s missile programme.

The US State Department said the sanctions were part of the United States’ efforts “to use all available measures to prevent Iran from advancing its missile capabilities.”

The United States targeted entities connected with Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, specifically those working for the Lebanon-based Martyrs Foundation, which the United States said provides finances to Hezbollah and other militant groups.

Among the individuals and entities blacklisted were Atlas Holding and affiliated companies as well as senior Atlas Holding official Kassem Mohamad Ali Bazzi.

The measures block all of the affected entities’ and people’s property within US jurisdiction and open them up to financial sanctions that would penalise institutions that do transactions with them.

US officials also named Ahmad al-Hamidawi, secretary-general of Kata’ib Hezbollah, a “specially designated global terrorist,” which freezes all American assets he may hold and makes it illegal to do transactions with him.

State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales said the designation was part of US efforts to “intensify pressure” on Kata’ib Hezbollah, which he accused of aiming to turn “Iraq into a vassal state.”

Kata’ib Hezbollah drew increased scrutiny after allegedly firing rockets on an Iraqi base where US troops were stationed last December.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of a company blacklisted under new US sanctions. The correct name of the blacklisted company is Beirut-based "Atlas Holding," not the US-based "Atlas Holdings."

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