U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran airline over proliferation

Zarif Iran fully ready for prisoner swap ball in US court

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is announcing new sanctions on Iran's transportation industry over its ongoing weapons smuggling operation.

He called on Washington to swap all Iranians jailed in the USA and on extradition requests from the U.S., mostly for alleged violations of United States export restrictions and sanctions violations, with those imprisoned in Iran.

Washington targeted three general sales agents of Mahan Air over the role the airline has played in weapons of mass destruction proliferation, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters.

Reports said Iran's shipping company has been providing "lethal aid" to Yemen's Islamic Revolutionary Guard, while Iran's airlines allegedly moved weapons and personnel for Hezbollah.

In addition to the sanctions on the companies, Pompeo threatened additional sanctions on those who conduct illicit transactions with them.

"These sanctions are directly targeting ordinary Iranians' livelihood, but they will not be cowed by pressures by any foreign power", Miryousefi said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in NY, U.S., September 26, 2019.

USA officials told Reuters in October that the United States had carried out a secret cyber strike on Iran after the September 14 attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh claimed Iran was responsible for.

Tensions in the Gulf have escalated sharply since Trump past year withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed trade and financial sanctions on Tehran.

American "justice" exists only in Hollywood films and is "a lie", Dr. Masoud Soleimani, an Iranian academic recently released from USA custody, has said, speaking with Iranian media and the governor general of the central Iranian province of Isfahan, Press TV has reported.

Soleimani also revealed that even as he was being transferred to be swapped for Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-American national and Princeton student convicted of espionage in Iran, he was "handcuffed and shackled" during the trip to Switzerland, where the exchange took place.

Despite the latest round of sanctions, Pompeo said he hoped that the prisoner exchange on Saturday might lead to the release of other Americans held in Iran, though he cautioned against false optimism. "We support the Iranian people as they demand this!" "We are working to use this as an opportunity to continue that effort", he said.



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