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White House Announces New Sanctions on Iran Following ‘Unprecedented’ Israel Attack

The latest sanctions will be focused on Tehran’s missile and drone program.

The United States and its allies will impose new sanctions on Iran in the wake of its “unprecedented” air attack against Israel, the White House announced on April 16.

President Biden is currently coordinating with allies and partners, including the Group of Seven (G7)—which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom—and with bipartisan Congress leaders, on a “comprehensive response” to the April 13 attack, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

The latest sanctions will be focused on Tehran’s missile and drone program, as well as on entities supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Defense Ministry.

“In addition, we continue to work through the Department of Defense and U.S. Central Command to further strengthen and expand the successful integration of air and missile defense and early warning systems across the Middle East to further erode the effectiveness of Iran’s missile and UAV capabilities,” Mr. Sullivan said.

The U.S. sanctions will be announced in the coming days, while Washington’s allies and partners are expected to announce their own sanctions soon, according to the White House national security adviser.

“These new sanctions and other measures will continue a steady drumbeat of pressure to contain and degrade Iran’s military capacity and effectiveness and confront the full range of its problematic behaviors,” Mr. Sullivan said.

‘Pressure Will Continue’

He further noted that, in addition to missile and drone-related sanctions, Washington has also sanctioned more than 600 individuals and entities over the past three years. These sanctions are connected to alleged terrorism, terrorist financing, and other forms of illicit trade, as well as support for proxy terrorist groups including Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and Kataib Hezbollah, all of which are backed by Iran.

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“The pressure will continue,” Mr. Sullivan added. “We will not hesitate to continue to take action, in coordination with allies and partners around the world, and with Congress, to hold the Iranian government accountable for its malicious and destabilizing actions.”

The latest sanctions come after Iran launched more than 170 drones, more than 120 ballistic missiles, and more than 30 cruise missiles at Israel on April 13, although almost all were intercepted by Israel and Western allies, including the United Kingdom and Jordan.
That attack was in response to an airstrike on the Iranian Embassy compound in Damascus, Syria, on April 1 that was allegedly conducted by Israeli forces. The strike killed two top generals in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and five officers, according to Iranian officials.

Israel Must Be ‘Punished’ Iran Warns

Among those killed in the strike were Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who was a senior commander of the elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016, and Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hadi Haji-Rahimi, his deputy, according to reports.

The IRGC was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in 2019.

While Israel has not commented on whether it was involved in the strike on the Iranian Embassy compound, Iranian officials were quick to point the finger at the nation, which has previously admitted to carrying out various strikes on those linked to Iran-allied armed groups in Syria.

Responding to the incident during a televised speech last week, Tehran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that “the evil regime made a mistake and must be punished and it shall be.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting with the army's air force and air defense staff in Tehran, Iran, on Feb. 7, 2021. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting with the army’s air force and air defense staff in Tehran, Iran, on Feb. 7, 2021. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

While the latest strikes from both Iran and Israel mark a major escalation of Israel’s war with regional adversaries, the Biden administration has been urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to launch any further military response that could lead to an all-out war.

During a press conference on April 15, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that the United States is coordinating a “diplomatic response” to the Iranian attack aimed at preventing further escalation, adding that he has been in communication with counterparts in both Iran and Israel.

“Strength and wisdom must be different sides of the same coin,” Mr. Blinken said, in what appeared to be a message aimed at Israel.

Jackson Rickman contributed to this report.

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