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Iran

US sanctions businesses, networks for helping Iran

The United States has slapped sanctions on more than 25 individuals and businesses linked with Iran. The US suspects them of having helped Tehran expand its nuclear program - or evade existing sanctions.

The US Treasury announced sanctions against more than 25 individuals and entities, including oil and shipping companies, banks and airlines.

"The Treasury's action against over 25 entities and individuals, who are involved in expanding Iran's proliferation program, supporting terrorism in the region and helping Iran evade US and international sanctions, reflects our continuing determination to take action against anyone, anywhere, who violates our sanctions," said the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, David Cohen.

One of the banks targeted is Moscow-based Asia Bank, which has in the past provided US bank notes to Iran. This included a mid-2014 delivery from Moscow to Tehran of more than $13 million (9.89 million euros).

The sanctions also target two airlines: Meraj Air, an Iranian government airline suspected of carrying weapons and other cargo to the Syrian government, and Caspian Air, an Iran-based airline the US Treasury alleges is supporting Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps by transporting people and weapons from Iran to Syria.

Pouya Air has been identified as an alias for an already sanctioned airline, Yas Air, listed for transporting weapons and other illicit cargo to "Iran's clients in the Levant" - the region of Lebanon, Syria and Israel.

The new measures also target Tehran's efforts to avoid sanctions on oil sales. They expand a wide network of international sanctions already in place, despite a temporary and narrow lifting of sanctions, in exchange for Iran suspending some of its nuclear activities.

That deal came into place last year. Negotiators now face a November deadline to come up with a final deal.

jr/glb (AFP, AP)

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