UK and US impose new sanctions on Iran in wake of attack on Israel

The UK and US have slapped a raft of new sanctions on leading Iranian military figures and entities linked to Tehran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the action demonstrated London and Washington’s unequivocal condemnation of Iran’s weekend assault on Israel, which raised fears of further escalation in the Middle East.

The UK on Thursday added seven individuals and six entities involved in Tehran’s drone and ballistic missile sector to its sanctions list.

Mr Sunak said: “The Iranian regime’s attack against Israel was a reckless act and a dangerous escalation.

“Today we have sanctioned the ringleaders of the Iranian military and forces responsible for the weekend’s attack.

“These sanctions – announced with the US – show we unequivocally condemn this behaviour, and they will further limit Iran’s ability to destabilise the region.”

Iranian defence minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and Major-General Gholamali Rashid, commander of Iran’s central military headquarters, are both now subject to UK sanctions along with five other people linked to the Iranian defence industry.

These include directors and managers at Aerospace Industries Organisation, Shahid Hemmat Industries Group and Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group, all of which are believed to be involved in Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

Entities sanctioned by Britain include the General Staff of Iran’s armed forces, the naval wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Khatam-Al Anbiya Central Headquarters which Major-General Rashid commands and three Iranian defence companies.

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said the new sanctions demonstrate the UK’s unequivocal condemnation of Iran’s attack on Israel (Yui Mok/PA)

Speaking at the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Italy, he told broadcasters: “Iran’s behaviour is unacceptable and it’s right that countries come together here at the G7 and make those points, not just because of what Iran has been doing, but also as a message to Israel, that we want to play our part in having a co-ordinated strategy that deals with Iran’s aggression.”

The Tory peer also urged Iran to release the MSC Aries, a container ship associated with Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group seized by the IRGC Navy on Saturday.

The new measures add to more than 400 sanctions already imposed on Iran, including on the IRGC.

Washington targeted 16 people and two entities in Iran that produce engines for the drones deployed in the weekend assault on Israel.

US President Joe Biden said in a statement: “Today, we are holding Iran accountable – imposing new sanctions and export controls on Iran.

“The sanctions target leaders and entities connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s Defence Ministry, and the Iranian government’s missile and drone programme that enabled this brazen assault.

Mr Biden also pledged to “continue to impose sanctions that further degrade Iran’s military industries”.

“Let it be clear to all those who enable or support Iran’s attacks,” he said, “we will not hesitate to take all necessary action to hold you accountable.”

Tel Aviv has vowed to respond to Iran’s weekend attack, despite calls for restraint from allies, some of whom – including the UK, US and France – helped Israel repel Tehran’s drone and missile barrage.

The onslaught followed Israel’s targeting of an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria earlier this month.

Israel and Iran have waged a shadow war for decades, but the strike over the weekend was the first direct Iranian military attack on Israeli soil.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –