President Joe Biden’s administration has reportedly lifted sanctions on two Iranian entities involved in Iran’s missile program just as Iran is believed to be closing in on having enough nuclear fuel to build a nuclear bomb.
“The sanctions, targeting the Mammut Industrial Group (Mammut Industries) and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel, were originally imposed by the Trump administration in September 2020 as part of efforts to increase a maximum pressure campaign of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear activity and actions in the region criticized as malign and destabilizing,” The Hill reported. “The entities were identified as being ‘key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile programs.’”
The Trump administration had imposed crushing sanctions on Iran, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, in an effort to get the country to abandon its nuclear program.
The U.S. Treasury Department issued the sanctions against the two entities, Mammut Industrial Group and Mammut Diesel, in September 2020:
Treasury designated Iran-based Mammut Industrial Group (Mammut Industries) and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel pursuant to E.O. 13382 for providing support to an entity in Iran’s ballistic missile program. Mammut Industries and Mammut Diesel are key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile programs. Since early 2000, Mammut Industries has supported the production of ballistic missile equipment for Iran’s AIO and specifically, Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), Iran’s primary developer of liquid propelled missiles. As of late-2019, Mammut Industries continued to support SHIG’s production of ballistic missile equipment.
A spokesman for the Biden administration’s Treasury Department said that the removal of the two entities from the sanctions list does “not reflect any change in U.S. government sanctions policy towards Iran.”
“They have nothing to do with JCPOA negotiation efforts,” the statement said. “The United States will continue to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities, including through implementation of our sanctions.”
The report noted that the Biden administration did not address whether the entities had stopped providing support for Iran’s missile program.
Iran has recently failed to honor a key agreement that it reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about allowing international inspectors to monitor its nuclear activities.
The agency said in a statement:
The (IAEA) Director General (Rafael Grossi) stresses that Iran’s decision not to allow agency access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop is contrary to the agreed terms of the joint statement issued on 12 September. …
Iran from 20–22 September permitted IAEA inspectors to service identified agency monitoring and surveillance equipment and to replace storage media at all necessary locations in Iran with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the TESA Karaj complex.
Experts have warned that Iran is, if they haven’t already, dangerously close to having enough nuclear fuel to build a nuclear weapon.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned at a recent speech at the U.N. that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was “at a critical point.”
“All red lines have been crossed. Inspections — ignored. All wishful thinking — proven false,” Bennett said. “Iran is currently violating the IAEAs safeguard agreements — and it’s getting away with it. They harass inspectors and sabotage their investigations — and they’re getting away with it. They enrich Uranium to the level of 60 percent, which is only one step short of weapons-grade material — and they’re getting away with it.”
“Evidence which clearly proves Iran’s intentions for nuclear weapons in secret sites in Turquzabad, Teheran & Marivan — is ignored,” he continued. “Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment. And so has our tolerance.”
“Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning. There are those in the world who seem to view Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons as an inevitable reality, as a done deal, or they’ve just become tired of hearing about it,” Bennett added. “Israel doesn’t have that privilege. We cannot tire. We will not tire. Israel will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”