Tehran: Iran on Sunday sanctioned what it described as 15 American companies, alleging they support terrorism, repression and Israel's occupation of land Palestinians want for a future state, likely in retaliation for sanctions earlier announced by the US.
The wide-ranging list from an American real estate company to a major arms manufacturer appeared more symbolic than anything else as the firms weren't immediately known to be doing business anywhere in the Islamic Republic.
A Foreign Ministry statement carried by the state-run IRNA news agency said the sanctions barred companies from any agreements with Iranian firms and that former and current directors would not be eligible for visas.
It also said any of the company's assets in Iran could be seized. "The sanctioned companies have, directly and/or indirectly, been involved in the brutal atrocities committed by the Zionist regime in the occupied Palestinian territories, or they have supported the regime's terrorist activities and Israel's development of Zionist settlements on the Palestinian soil," the IRNA report said.
The IRNA report referred to the sanctions as a "reciprocal act," without elaborating. Iran's new sanctions comes after the Trump administration in February sanctioned more than two dozen people and companies in retaliation for a recent ballistic missile test.
The companies named did not immediately respond to requests for comments on Monday. They included ITT Corp., missile-maker Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp. Denver's Re/Max Holdings Inc., a real estate company, also made the list.
One of the named companies, Israeli defence contractor Elbit, declined to comment on the matter. Another firm on the list, truck maker Oshkosh, has worked closely with Israeli armoured products maker Plasan, including on the Sand Cat armoured vehicle that is used by several countries, including Israel.
The Israeli Defense Ministry is reportedly seeking to buy some 200 tactical trucks from the Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based company.
Kahr Arms and Magnum Research, two sanctioned firms which share the same parent company, advertise .44-caliber Magnum and .50-caliber "Desert Eagle" pistols, a product line that previously has been made in Israel.
Meanwhile, a senior Iranian lawmaker said Iran would consider a bill branding the US military and the CIA as terrorist groups if the US Congress passes a bill designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.
Allaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, was quoted by Iranian state television as saying the move to further sanction the Revolutionary Guard goes against the 2015 nuclear deal Iran reached with the United States and other world powers.
The nuclear deal saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of some economic sanctions.
In the time since, Chicago-based Boeing Co. has struck a USD 16.6 billion deal with Iran for passenger planes. Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations since 1979, when militant students stormed the US Embassy and took 52 Americans hostages for 444 days.
Tensions eased slightly with the nuclear deal struck by moderate President Hassan Rouhani's administration, though hard-liners have detained those with Western ties in the time since.
Today's sanctions announcement also comes ahead of a May presidential election in which Rouhani is expected to seek re-election....