• This may be the last step in the policy of maximum pressure, Reuters wrote
  • Assets and bank accounts of individuals and companies may be confiscated in the United States, and they will not be allowed to travel to or enter the United States.
  • U.S. Embassy in Iraq Has Been Targeted Again

On the anniversary of the crackdown on the November protests in Iran, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, two deputies of the Foundation of the Oppressed and Disabled, and a number of individuals and entities close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

US Sanctions Iran's Minister of Intelligence
Sayyid Mahmoud Alavi is an Iranian cleric, conservative politician, and the minister of intelligence in ’s government.

This may be the last step in the policy of maximum pressure, Reuters wrote. The US Treasury Department has announced sanctions against perpetrators of human rights abuses and crackdowns on protesters in Iran.

The Department has named the Foundation of the Oppressed and Disabled and a major network supporting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic among those sanctioned. The treasury blacklist includes 10 individuals and 51 companies associated with Ali Khamenei.

The Foundation, also known as the Mostazafan Foundation, is a huge economic and financial complex arising from hundreds of companies and property confiscated since the Islamic Revolution.

Javad Qanat and Khosrow Mokhtari, the Foundation’s deputies, are among those sanctioned. The name of the director of Sina Bank and the director of Sina Energy Development Company are also included in the list.

The Minister of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic, Mahmoud Alavi, has also been sanctioned for his role in blatantly violating human rights during the November 2019 nationwide protests and the suppression of protesters.

Under the new sanctions, assets and bank accounts of individuals and companies may be confiscated in the United States, and they will not be allowed to travel to or enter the United States.

The sanctions could be Washington’s last move to advance Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran before leaving the White House and handing over power to President-Elect , Reuters reported.

U.S. Embassy in Iraq Targeted Again

Four weeks after the security situation in Iraq calmed down, the heavily guarded U.S. embassy in the Green Zone of Baghdad was hit by rockets. The victims were mainly civilians and one child was killed. Four Katyusha rockets hit the area where the heavily guarded Baghdad government and the embassies of the United States and other countries are located.

According to information released by the Iraqi military, a total of seven rockets were launched from the southeast of the capital. One of them nearly hit a hospital in Baghdad, and the other landed at the entrance of a park. The seventh one exploded in the air. A young girl was killed in the attack and five civilians were injured.

US Sanctions Iran's Minister of Intelligence
The heavily guarded U.S. embassy in the Green Zone of Baghdad was hit by rockets.

Intelligence agencies confirm that the U.S. Embassy was attacked. Witnesses said that after the explosion, a red flare appeared in the sky, which was a sign that the C-RAM missile defense system of the US Embassy was put into use.

A spokesperson for the Iraqi Anti-IS Coalition, led by the United States, said that Iraqi intelligence agencies have confirmed that the US Embassy was attacked, but did not comment on the use of the C-RAM system.

The staff of the Iraqi security agency said that this is the first time the US diplomatic mission in Baghdad has been attacked since the pro-Iranian militia pledged to stop its attacks on the US a month ago. Washington had previously threatened to close the embassy if the attacks were not stopped.

Since October last year, there have been nearly 90 rocket and bomb attacks targeting foreign embassies, troops and facilities in Iraq, causing casualties. The United States has repeatedly stressed that the Shiite Hezbollah brigade and other pro-Iranian militias are responsible for these attacks.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi had phone call only a few hours after the attack on the US Embassy. Almost at the same time as the attack, the United States announced that it would reduce its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by 2500 soldiers by January 15 next year.

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