The US sanctioned 13 individuals and 12 entities under US Iran sanctions authority, days after the White House had put Iran “on notice” over a ballistic missile test and other activities.
In a statement on its website, the US Treasury listed the sanctioned individuals and entities, some of which are based in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and China.
As tensions escalate between Washington and Tehran, two US officials confirmed the US has placed a Navy destroyer off the coast of Yemen to protect waterways from Houthi militia aligned with Iran.
US Treasury said the sanctions are part of the Treasury’s “ongoing efforts to counter Iranian malign activity abroad” that is outside the scope of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Earlier today President Donald Trump warned: “Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!”
The US president has refused to rule out military action after Iran tested a new ballistic missile.
The USS Cole arrived in the vicinity of the Bab al-Mandab Strait off southwestern Yemen where it will carry out patrols including escorting vessels, according to US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters.
The armed Houthi movement attacked a Saudi warship off the western coast of Yemen, causing an explosion that killed two crew members this week, amid Pentagon fears the Saudi warship may have been meant to target a US battleship.
US military vessels have carried out routine operations in the region in the past.
But the officials said this movement is part of an increased presence aimed at protecting shipping from the Iran-allied Houthis.
The officials said the decision to move the USS Cole was made before Mr Trump’s comments about military action against Iran.
Mr Trump told reporters “nothing was off the table” when asked if he would consider using military force to respond to Tehran.
Every recent US president, including Democrat Barack Obama, has said that US military options were not off the table to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
The president’s national security adviser Michael Flynn confirmed earlier this week the US was putting Iran “on notice” for its “destabilising activity”.
Washington has claimed Iran’s missile test defied a UN Security Council resolution that called on Iran not to undertake any activity designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Iranian defence minister Hossein Dehghan confirmed a medium-range ballistic missile was launched and exploded after travelling 630 miles.
He said the test did not violate the UN Security Council resolution.
The row comes as a 90-day US ban on visas for migrants or visitors from Muslim-majority countries Iran, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.
More to follow…