Washington, Jul 13 (IANS): The US has put over 50 Iranian entities under sanctions in its latest step to stifle the Islamic republic's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
According to the US treasury department, by publicly identifying a group of Iranian front companies and banks, the additional sanctions targeted Iran's "nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation networks" and intended as well to prevent the evasion of sanctions, Xinhua reported.
"These actions are part of the United States government's dual- track approach of increasing pressure to convince Iran to engage seriously and address the international community's concerns about its nuclear programme," it said in a statement Thursday.
In what the agency called continuous efforts to target Iran's nuclear and missile proliferation activities, 11 Iranian entities and four individuals were blacklisted, many of whom are part of a network of proliferators led by Iran's ministry of defence for Armed Forces Logistics and its subsidiary, Aerospace Industries Organisation.
Some others are related to Iran's national maritime carrier, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The treasury exposed many front companies and ships in addition to 20 financial institutions, all owned by the Iranian government. The National Iranian Tanker Company, along with its 58 vessels and 27 affiliated entities, was targeted as well.
"Iran today is under intense, multilateral sanctions pressure, and we will continue to ratchet up the pressure so long as Iran refuses to address the international community's well-founded concerns about its nuclear programme," said David Cohen, under secretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.
The UN Security Council imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran between 2006 and 2010 over its refusal to halt its nuclear enrichment programme.
Despite Iran's insistence that its nuclear programme is for civilian use only, the US and EU have imposed extra sanctions of their own.