WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- The U.S. Treasury Department has unabashedly announced that its new sanctions targeting Iran’s air and maritime transport industries ban humanitarian trade.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced the sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its subsidiary, E-Sail Shipping, as well as Iran’s largest airline Mahan Air.
In a series of guidelines on its official website, the Treasury said "U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions involving Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) or E-Sail, including transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices.”
"In addition, non-U.S. persons that knowingly engage in certain transactions with IRISL or E-Sail, even for the sale to Iran of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices, risk exposure to sanctions under additional authorities,” it added.
The announcement came despite Washington’s claims in the past that its sanctions did not affect Iran’s access to humanitarian goods.
Nevertheless, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said early this year that Tehran had to listen to Washington "if they want their people to eat”.
The new bans mark the latest in Washington’s sweeping sanctions against Tehran after the U.S. government unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions lifted under the agreement last year.
Speaking on Thursday, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook boasted that the U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector had led to more than $50 billion in revenue losses, hindered Iran’s refined-oil products and undermined foreign investment.
"Both upstream and downstream investments in Iran’s oil and gas sector have stopped,” Hook said. "Foreign investors have almost entirely pulled out of Iran due to the risks and billions in investment has been lost.”
Hook said that the oil sanctions seek to force Iran to negotiate with the U.S., a demand which Iranian officials have firmly rejected as long as Washington fails to uphold the previously negotiated nuclear deal agreement.
Through the sanctions, the U.S. has sought to provoke internal strife in Iran with the help MKO terrorists and royalists.
Reza Pahlavi, son of the deposed shah, expressed support for aggressive U.S. policies and called for stepped-up western intervention in Iran in a recent interview with Newsweek magazine.
He claimed that the Iranian people "understand and appreciate” the U.S. sanctions.
The remarks come despite numerous studies indicating that Iranian resentment against Washington has largely increased amid the sanctions.
A recent study published by the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and the Toronto-based IranPolls shows that an overwhelming 86 percent of Iranians despise U.S. policies.
‘BBC Partner in Economic Terrorism’
Iran’s UK ambassador on Thursday said BBC Persian news network is actively participating in the U.S. economic terrorism by painting a bleak picture of the situation and instigating Iranians to take their assets out of banks.
Hamid Baeidinejad cited a Wednesday "interview” by the BBC News’ Persian service with a U.S.-based "political activist” as an example of the attempted anti-Iran sabotage by the channel.
The envoy said during the "interview, which had been recorded and planned in advance,” BBC Persian’s presenter and the so-called activist "were, through painting a very mendacious picture of Iran’s economic situation, unequivocally called on Iranians to immediately take their assets out of Iranian banks.”
"And they call themselves journalists. No this is partnership in the economic terrorism project, against Iran” Baeidinejad said.