The US State Department issued a notice Monday of new sanctions against major Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq for violations of a US law that restricts weapons transfers involving Iran, Syria and North Korea.
The sanctions target Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Lebanese Hezbollah, all three of which receive backing from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Two Syrian entities, Wael Issa Trading Establishment and Ayman Al Sabbagh Trading, as well as three Russian firms, Charter Green Light Moscow, Asia-Invest LLC and NPP Pulsar LLC, were also targeted. The ban forbids US government departments, agencies and personnel from signing contracts with or from providing licenses or government assistance to the organizations.
The State Department said the organizations were sanctioned July 29 under the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.
The law was introduced in 2000 to allow Washington to single out individuals and organizations that transfer internationally controlled weapons to or from Iran. The legislation was later updated to include Syria and North Korea.
The sanctions follow a series of drone attacks on sensitive US military and intelligence sites in Iraq in recent months. The attacks have reportedly alarmed US officials.
In the wake of the chaotic multinational war against the Islamic State, Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Lebanese Hezbollah have developed into arms of the IRGC’s reach into war-ravaged Iraq and Syria.
Their rise to prominence has raised concerns in the United States, Israel and the Gulf that Iran’s ballistic, drone and cruise missile technology could further proliferate toward the borders of Tehran’s rivals in the region.
In Iraq, a series of sporadic rocket barrages have raised the stakes for the remaining 2,500 US troops in the country. The harassment, believed to be carried out by Iran-linked militias, has killed two US personnel this year and injured several others.
The attacks picked up after President Donald Trump ordered the head of the IRGC’s expeditionary Quds Force, Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, killed in a drone strike in Baghdad. The assassination also killed the de facto head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Front militias, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who had close ties to Soleimani.
Source » iranbriefing