USA sanctions Iranian network recruiting child soldiers

US imposes new sanctions on Iran banks, companies

US imposes new sanctions on Iran banks, companies

The Treasury imposed sanctions on a multibillion-dollar financial network that supports the Basij Resistance Force affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

"This vast network provides financial infrastructure to the Basij's efforts to recruit, train, and indoctrinate child soldiers who are coerced into combat under the IRGC's direction", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Mnuchin said that apart from recruiting child soldiers as young as 12, Basij was also involved in the violent crackdowns and other "serious human rights abuses" following the disputed 2009 Iranian elections.

"The US government is trying to create obstacles" for Tehran as it seeks to take advantage of new "economic relations with [the] worldwide community", Qassemi said, as reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

The United States has imposed fresh sanctions on a number of Iranian banks and financial institutions as well as companies ahead of the start of the next month's new round of the USA sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The new USA sanctions against Iranian companies are psychological warfare, Washington disregards worldwide law, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

The sanctions are part of the United States economic campaign to pressure Iran to radically alter its policies, including developing ballistic missiles, supporting regional militant groups, and violating human rights.

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But campaign spokesman Steve Sandberg called the ad a "disgraceful act" in a statement to the Star-Ledger in New Jersey. For the New Jersey senator, the race represents the latest in a series of dramatic fights for his political life.

The Basij, a paramilitary force formed soon after the 1979 revolution, is one of the Iranian regime's primary enforcers of internal security with branches in every province and city of Iran, according to the Treasury.

The New York-based organization Human Rights Watch has documented how the IRGC has recruited Afghan immigrant children living in Iran to fight in Syria alongside Assad's forces.

Iran's Bank Mellat has been found to be a major financier of this fighting force and is now being slapped with sanctions by the Trump administration, a blow to the Islamic Republic's coffers.

Iran has tried to downplay U.S. sanctions targeting the country's vital oil and gas sector. A second round, forthcoming on November 4, will be targeting Iran's energy sector and financial transactions.

The sanctions-part of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure campaign" on Iran-come after a series of Iranian missile and drone strikes in the region that have drawn widespread condemnation, including from the Trump administration.

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said 143 out of 268 lawmakers voted to join the "Combating the Financing of Terrorism", or CFT. Joining the CFT is unlikely to prevent Iran from continuing to support such groups.

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