The US has announced more sanctions on Iran, just a week after a US warship confiscated Iranian missile parts it said were headed for Yemen.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was sanctioning Iran’s Mahan air for its role in transporting weapons of mass destruction. The United States first imposed sanctions on Mahan in 2011, saying it provided financial and other support to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Mr Pompeo also announced the reintroduction of sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines company, calling the lifting of sanctions under the 2015 nuclear deal “an enormous mistake”.

Shanghai-based company E-Sail Shipping will also be subject to sanctions. Mr Pompeo said the company

“knowlingly transports illicit materials” to Iran.

The designations will come into effect on June 8 2020.

The US has said the airline has clear links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its shadowy international wing the Quds Force.

Italy banned flights from the airline in November after bowing to US pressure to isolate Iran.

The sanctions signal a continuation of the US “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

“A long as its malign campaign continues, so will our scampaign of maximum pressure,” Mr Pompeo said.

He also warned US citizens of the “massive” danger of travelling to Iran, saying they risked “kidnap, arrest and detention”.

Iran-US relations sunk to a new low last year after US President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 deal in which world powers agreed to lift sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme.

However, Mr Pompeo said a recent prisoner swap between the two nations will lead to a broader effort to obtain the release of more Americans.

In a prisoner exchange at the weekend, Iran freed a Chinese-American scholar from Princeton who had been held for three years on widely criticised espionage charges. After the swap, the Iranians said the US was holding around 20 more of their citizens and wanted to work toward more prisoner swaps.

Source » thenational