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U.S. sanctions "key entities" involved in Iran's ballistic missile program

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley briefs the media in front of remains of Iranian "Qiam" ballistic missile provided by Pentagon at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, U.S., December 14, 2017.

YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Thursday against five "Iran-based entities subordinate to a key element of Iran's ballistic missile program." The five entities targeted are subsidiaries of Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group (SBIG), which is part of Iran's Defense Ministry. While Shahid is already under U.S. sanctions, the new designations ensure its subsidiaries are also punished. 

"These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, which the Iranian regime prioritizes over the economic well-being of the Iranian people," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "As the Iranian people suffer, their government and the IRGC fund foreign militants, terrorist groups, and human rights abuses." 

"The United States will continue to decisively counter the Iranian regime's malign activity, including additional sanctions targeting human rights abuses," Mnuchin added.

The sanctions come after a week of protests in Iran, although the sanctions are not related to the unrest, The Associated Press reports. Last month U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley showed reporters missile parts with logos suggesting they were manufactured by Shahid. Haley said the fragments were recovered from missiles Iran-backed Houthi rebels launched at Saudi Arabia in Yemen.