U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions about his responses to the deaths and injuries at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville as he talks to the media with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (L) at his side in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 15, 2017..
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE)
WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department on Thursday sanctioned five Iran-based entities involved in Tehran's ballistic missile program and announced its intent to add more sanctions on Iran over its treatment of anti-government protesters this past week, just as critical deadlines approach for US President Donald Trump on sanctions related to Iran's nuclear work.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the administration "will continue to decisively counter the Iranian regime's malign activity, including additional sanctions targeting human rights abuses."
"These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, which the Iranian regime prioritizes over the economic well-being of the Iranian people," said Mnuchin. "As the Iranian people suffer, their government and the IRGC fund foreign militants, terrorist networks, and human rights abuses."
The latest sanctions target sections of Iran's Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group, responsible for the development and production of control systems, fiber materials, solid-propellant and motor cases critical to Iran's ballistic missiles.
Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, have said in recent days that the administration would consider additional sanctions on Tehran in light of its treatment of Iranian demonstrators, who took to the streets this past week calling for economic and political reforms.
Hundreds have been arrested and over 20 people have been killed in the unrest.
"The president is weighing additional actions to punish the regime for its belligerent behavior and assault on its own citizens," Pence said on Wednesday.
Trump also suggested he will take additional action in the coming days.
"Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government," he tweeted. "You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!"
Meanwhile, Trump faces deadlines on sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program next week, waived every 120 days in line with a nuclear deal reached between Tehran and world powers in 2015.
The White House has not commented on whether Trump will continue those sanctions waivers, which would keep the US in line with the nuclear pact.