U.S. Lifts Sanctions On Iranian Missile Producers Without Explanation

(New York, N.Y.) — Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it would be lifting the sanctions imposed by the previous administration on Iranian missile producers Mammut Industrial Group and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel. The two entities were described by Treasury as “key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile programs” when the sanctions were announced. The delisting follows the July 2021 lifting of sanctions on three Iranians who were major shareholders and executives of the Mammut Industrial Group.

The Biden Administration has thus far not been forthcoming on the reasons behind the lifting of these sanctions, and it has not confirmed that the delisted individuals and entities have verifiably ceased their sanctionable behavior. At the same time, the administration denied that its actions are indicative of a broader shift in Iran sanctions policy or are in any way linked to inducements to bring Tehran back to stalled nuclear negotiations.

Hopefully, this is the case, but further context behind the decision to delist is necessary. Reducing economic pressure on Tehran absent meaningful behavioral change would signal to the Iranian regime that it can extract concessions from the U.S. through its intransigence. The Biden Administration should be fully transparent about what led to the delisting of these individuals and entities implicated in Iran’s ballistic missile proliferation pursuits, and should reaffirm its commitment to bringing all the pressure at its disposal to bear on disrupting Iran’s development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Rather than undoing sanctions, the Biden administration should prepare to wage a full-scale diplomatic offensive in favor of extending the Iranian ballistic missile development restrictions contained in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 – set to expire just 24 months from now. 

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