Iran has imposed sanctions on 15 US companies for alleged human rights violations and cooperating with Israel, the state news agency IRNA reported on Sunday.The agency quoted Iran's foreign ministry as saying the companies had "flagrantly violated human rights" and cooperated with Israel against the Palestinians.It was not immediately clear if any of the companies, which included defense technology firm Raytheon, had any dealings with Iran or whether they would be affected in any way by Tehran's action, which IRNA said would include seizure of their assets and a ban on contacts with them.
The Iranian move came two days after the United States imposed sanctions on 30 foreign companies or individuals for transferring sensitive technology to Iran for its missile program, or for violating export controls on Iran, North Korea and Syria.Separately, on Thursday, bipartisan leadership in the US Senate introduced a bill that would severely sanction Tehran over its ballistic missile work and its proxy activities across the Middle East, targeting several Iranian entities that were previously relieved of sanctions under the nuclear accord implemented last year.Passage of the bill “would risk killing the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” an Iranian American lobbying group based in Washington said in a statement, referring to the formal title of the nuclear agreement. The bill, which has 14 Democratic and Republican sponsors, would set mandatory sanctions for anyone involved with Iran's ballistic missile program and those who trade with them.It also would apply sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and put into law sanctions imposed via presidential executive order on individuals currently sanctioned due to what the bill's sponsors describe as Iranian support for terrorism.The bill would also require the president to block the property of any person or entity involved in specific activities that violate the UN arms embargo on Iran.Iran has suggested that past proposed sanctions bills would violate the international nuclear agreement reached during the administration of former President Barack Obama.Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a co-author of the measure, told Reuters the new bill had been written not to interfere with that accord."We assiduously worked to make sure that no provisions actually affect the agreement as it is," he said in an interview. Michael Wilner contributed to this report.
Netanyahu: Iran is responsible for more than 80% of Israel"s security problems (credit: GPO)