The U.S. imposed sanctions on five entities tied to Iran's ballistic-missile program, seeking to punish Tehran for its management of the economy as thousands of Iranians protest against their government.
Treasury Department officials blamed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other parts of the government for funding proxies across the Middle East despite the needs of the Iranian people at home.
"As the Iranian people suffer, their government and the IRGC fund foreign militants, terrorist groups, and human rights abuses," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday. "We will not hesitate to call out the regime's economic mismanagement and diversion of significant resources to fund threatening missile systems at the expense of its citizenry."
Trump administration officials said they would be watching closely for human-rights abuses committed against protesters. "We have ample authorities to hold accountable those who commit violence against protesters, contribute to censorship, or steal from the people of Iran," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
The entities sanctioned on Thursday, which the administration has assessed are related to one another, are responsible for the development of guidance systems, solid propellants, motor cases and research for the country's missile program.
Officials at Iran's United Nations mission didn't respond to a request for comment.
The sanctions aren't related to Iran's nuclear program, which is covered by the 2015 international nuclear agreement under which Iran agreed not to advance its program and world powers agreed to lift economic sanctions.
Write to Felicia Schwartz at Felicia.Schwartz@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 04, 2018 16:18 ET (21:18 GMT)