In an attempt at denying the specialized metals Iran’s nuclear ballistic missile and military programs, the Trump Administration imposed greater sanctions on aluminium, steel, and copper, much of which was already under previous sanction.
Late Thursday United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described almost two dozen materials used as materials in the Iranian military’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems.
“Those who knowingly transfer such materials to Iran are now sanctionable pursuant to Section 1245 of the Iranian Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act,” he warned in a statement.
Many of the new sanctions cover items already under sanction, giving greater descriptions of certain products for those previously-sanctioned materials. Also now under sanction is graphite and raw or semi-finished metals, as such materials are used throughout the country’s construction sector, which the U.S. government says is under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“The IRGC’s construction firm and many of its subsidiaries remain sanctioned by the United Nations because they were directly involved in the construction of the uranium enrichment site at Fordow,” Pompeo explained.
A local holiday prevented an immediate response, but a source told S&P Global Platts said the Iranian government was unimpressed.
“The new sanctions are not taken very seriously because all of the metals were previously under the OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] sanctions,” explained the source.
Included in the latest round of sanctions were eight aluminium alloys, aluminium powder with a purity higher than 98 percent, and alumina. The remaining baker’s dozen consisted of various grades of steel and copper alloys.
Despite existing sanctions, Iranian sources indicated that the metals sector has operated as usual, as Iranian producers have largely transacted with countries in its region and in the Greater Asia area. Such countries do not recognize U.S. sanctions and often trade through Dubai and the allegedly lenient enforcement of illicit trade through its ports.