U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said he was expanding the scope of Iran metals sanctions, targeting 22 specific materials that he said were used in connection with Iran's nuclear, military or ballistic missile programs.
Emphasizing that demonstrating the strength and combat readiness of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will guarantee collective security in the Persian Gulf and the credibility of the country's deterrent power, the statement said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran has never started a war, but in case of any aggression against Iran, IRGC and other powerful defenders of the country will give a decisive and crushing response according to its defense strategy while protecting the independence, territorial integrity, security, national interests and geographical parts of the country, especially the Persian Gulf Islands".
Pompeo in a statement called it a "major expansion" of the Iran metals-related sanctions administered by the State Department, allowing Washington to blacklist those who knowingly transfer the materials to Iran.
"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".
"Those who knowingly transfer such materials to Iran are now sanctionable pursuant to Section 1245 of the Iranian Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act", Pompeo said.
Tensions between the USA and Iran worsened after President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the Iran nuclear deal in May, 2018.
The materials he said he had determined are used in connection with Iran's nuclear, military or ballistic missile programs included aluminum powder with purity above 98%.
Iran's Nour (Light)-1 military satellite has relayed image of the United States' biggest airbase in West Asia in its first attempt at imaging from the space since launch in April this year.
He said the agreement negiotiated by President Barack Obama failed to address Tehran's ballistic missile programme.