With Joe Biden’s inauguration less than one week away, the Trump administration is still determined to ratchet up its “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran.
On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions on companies in Iran, the UAE, and China for doing business with an Iranian shipping line. The measures targeted seven companies and two individuals for shipping steel either to or from Iran.
Pompeo also announced sanctions on three other Iranian companies over alleged weapons proliferation.
The latest sanctions come just two days after the US announced sanctions against two foundations tied to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
While sanctions against Iran have steadily increased over the past few years, the pressure was turned up after it became clear President Trump would not serve a second term, and sanctions have been added weekly since November. The Trump administration hopes to make it as difficult as possible for Joe Biden to return to diplomacy with Iran and revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
President Trump’s envoy for Iran, Elliot Abrams, explained the strategy back in November. He said it would be “tragic and foolish” if the Biden administration gave up “leverage” on Iran by lifting sanctions.