Author: AP and Reuters
Iran has imposed sanctions on 15 American companies over their alleged support for Israel, terrorism and repression in the region.
A Foreign Ministry statement carried by the state-run IRNA news agency on Sunday said the companies are barred from any agreements with Iranian firms and that former and current directors will not be eligible for visas.
The move is seen as a response to US sanctions placed on dozens of Iranian entities in February following an Iranian missile test. Iran’s sanctions are unlikely to have much impact as none of the targeted US companies is known to do business in Iran.
The companies include Bent Tal, United Technologies Products, ITT Corporation, Raytheon, Re/Max Real Estate, Magnum Research Inc, Oshkosh Corporation, Kahr Arms and Elbit Systems.
It comes after Iran denied US accusations on Saturday that its fast-attack boats were “harassing” warships at the mouth of the Gulf, and said Washington would be responsible for any clashes in the key oil shipping route.
US Navy commanders earlier accused Iran of jeopardising international navigation by “harassing” warships passing through the Strait of Hormuz and said future incidents could result in miscalculation and lead to an armed clash.
They spoke after the US aircraft carrier George H W Bush confronted what one of the commanding officers described as two sets of Iranian Navy fast-attack boats that had approached a US-led, five-vessel flotilla as it entered the Strait on Tuesday on a journey from the Indian Ocean into the Gulf.
It was the first time a US carrier had entered the narrow waterway, where up to 30 per cent of global oil exports pass, since President Donald Trump took office in January pledging a tougher US stance towards Iran.
In Tehran, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, said the US claims of the confrontation in the Gulf were based on “false reports or ulterior motives”, the state news agency IRNA reported.
“We emphasise that the Americans would be responsible for any unrest in the Persian Gulf, and again warn that the US military must change its behaviour,” Jazayeri said, without elaborating.
US commanders earlier said that Tuesday’s incident, in which the George H W Bush sent helicopter gunships to hover over the Iranian speedboats as some came as close as 950 yards from the aircraft carrier, ended without a shot being fired.
But it underscored growing tension between the United States and Iran since the election of Trump, who has condemned the 2015 nuclear deal that his predecessor Barack Obama and leaders of five other world powers struck with Tehran and labelled the Islamic Republic “the number one terrorist state”.
Read more on: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/america-iran-sanctions-warship-harrassment-a7650591.html