US Hits Iran With More Sanctions As Pompeo Makes Case For ‘Maximum Pressure’

(Photo by JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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The United States implemented another set of sanctions Wednesday on Iran while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” approach. 

A top Iranian charity and its affiliates were targeted Wednesday by the Departments of State and Treasury, according to the Associated Press. The justification given was that the targeted groups were committing human rights violations. (RELATED: REPORT: President Trump Has Asked About Attacking Iran’s Nuclear Program Before Leaving Office)

The charity is the Mostazafan Foundation, and it is accused, along with 160 of its subsidiaries, of providing material support to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his oppressive activities, the AP reports. The new sanctions largely supplement previous penalties already implemented on the organization, per the AP. 

In a statement, the Treasury Department said “While (it) is ostensibly a charitable organization charged with providing benefits to the poor and oppressed, its holdings are expropriated from the Iranian people and are used by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to enrich his office, reward his political allies, and persecute the regime’s enemies.” (RELATED: Iran Reportedly Beginning New Construction On Nuclear Site, New Photos Show)

While this announcement was happening, Secretary of State Pompeo also released a statement defending the Trump administration’s Iran policy. He called the “maximum pressure” campaign “extraordinarily effective,” and stressed the importance of continuing economic hostility towards Iran. “The Iranian regime seeks a repeat of the failed experiment that lifted sanctions and shipped them huge amounts of cash in exchange for modest nuclear limitations,” his statement said. (RELATED: H.R. McMaster Says It Would Be A ‘Big Mistake’ To Redo Iran Nuclear Deal)

Pompeo’s comments certainly appear to be targeted at the incoming Joe Biden administration. Biden has expressed a desire to re-enter the 2015 JCPOA, better known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. “Shipped them huge amounts of cash” is a reference to concessions made by the Obama administration as part of the negotiation for the JCPOA, a deal that President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of in 2018.