US imposes sanctions on several Iranian entities and individuals

2020-09-17 22:04:30
US imposes sanctions on several Iranian entities and individuals

The United States has imposed fresh sanctions on a number of Iranian entities and individuals over alleged attempts to launch a malware campaign.

The US Treasury Department said on Thursday the sanctions target two Iranian entities and 45 individuals allegedly linked with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence.

The Treasury claimed the companies -- called Advanced Persistent Threat 39 and Rana Intelligence Computing Company (Rana) -- are owned or controlled by Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).

The Treasury said the 45 individuals were employees at Rana.

“Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on Iranian cyber threat group Advanced Persistent Threat 39 (APT39), 45 associated individuals, and one front company. Masked behind its front company, Rana Intelligence Computing Company (Rana), the Government of Iran (GOI) employed a years-long malware campaign that targeted Iranian dissidents, journalists, and international companies in the travel sector. Concurrent with OFAC’s action, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released detailed information about APT39 in a public intelligence alert,” the Treasury said in a statement on its website.

"Rana advances Iranian national security objectives and the strategic goals of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) by conducting computer intrusions and malware campaigns against perceived adversaries, including foreign governments and other individuals the MOIS considers a threat," it added.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement, “The United States is determined to counter offensive cyber campaigns designed to jeopardize security and inflict damage on the international travel sector.”

This comes amid Washington’s attempts to trigger a snapback mechanism in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that would restore all UN sanctions on Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called the move a great strategic mistake, which has been rejected by the international community.

Rouhani said all US attempts to put pressure on Iran have failed. He stressed that Washington’s anti-Iran policies will not stop Tehran from moving toward further development.

Iran has been under a series of economic sanctions imposed by the United States since 2018, when President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Iran deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The Trump administration has unleashed its “toughest ever” sanctions to bring Iran's economy to its knees, but it keeps humming and is getting back on its feet.

Washington has resisted international calls to relax the bans to help Iran amid the coronavirus pandemic.


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