Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced Wednesday that it leveled sanctions against Mohmmad Ali Hosseini, an Iran-based procurement agent, and his network of companies that procured ballistic missile propellant-related materials for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Research and Self Sufficiency Jihad Organization (IRGC RSSJO), the IRGC unit responsible for the research and development of ballistic missiles, as well as Iran’s Parchin Chemical Industries (PCI), an element of Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO).

OFAC is also taking action against a key Iranian intermediary involved in the procurement of parts used to develop missile propellant on behalf of PCI.

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The Treasury Department said the sanctions follow Iran’s missile attack on Erbil, Iraq, on March 13, during which the IRGC launched 12 ballistic missiles at a site it claimed was an Israeli base, and the Iranian-enabled Houthi missile attack against a Saudi Aramco facility on March 25, as well as other missile attacks by Iranian proxies against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The sanctions “are a reminder that Iran’s development and proliferation of ballistic missiles continues to pose a serious threat to international security,” the Treasury stated

“This action reinforces the United States’ commitment to preventing the Iranian regime’s development and use of advanced ballistic missiles,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson.  “While the United States continues to seek Iran’s return to full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we will not hesitate to target those who support Iran’s ballistic missile program. We will also work with other partners in the region to hold Iran accountable for its actions, including gross violations of the sovereignty of its neighbors.”

These sanctions come as the Biden administration is exploring the option of removing the IRGC from its Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list as part of the renewed nuclear deal with Tehran.

Speaking at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting earlier this month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated that the IRGC is “the largest and most murderous terrorist organization in the world. Unlike ISIS, or other organizations, it is backed by a state.”

The IRGC’s operations are “not just an Israeli problem. Other countries – allies of the United States in the region – face this organization day in and day out,” Bennett pointed out. “In recent years, they have fired missiles at peaceful countries and launched UAVs at Israel and other countries.”

“Unfortunately, there is still determination to sign the nuclear deal with Iran at almost any cost – including saying that the world’s largest terrorist organization is not a terrorist organization. This is too high a price,” Bennett declared.

He warned that “even if this unfortunate decision is made, the State of Israel will continue to treat the IRGC as a terrorist organization, and will continue to act against it as we do against terrorist organizations.”

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.