WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday set additional sanctions against Iranian engineering firms with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), which it said has continued to expand its control of the Iranian economy.
It also sanctioned individuals and shipping companies with ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).
"By designating the individuals and entities today, Treasury is sending a clear signal to the international community that Iran's attempts to evade international sanctions will not go unnoticed," Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement.
The department imposed additional sanctions on Iran Maritime Industrial Company SADRA, which it said has offices in Iran and Venezuela. It said SADRA was owned by Khatam al-Anbiya, an engineering company used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp to fund its operations.
It also sanctioned Deep Offshore Technology PJS, which it said was a subsidiary of SADRA.
The Revolutionary Guard is a primary focus of U.S. and international sanctions against Iran because of the central role it plays in Iran's missile and nuclear programs, its support for terrorism and its involvement in serious human rights abuses, the department said.
It also has expanded its control over the Iranian economy - particularly in defense production, construction and oil and gas industries - subsuming increasing numbers of Iranian businesses and pressing them into service in support of the Revolutionary Guard's "illicit conduct," the department said.
"We will continue to target the Iranian regime and specifically the IRGC as it attempts to continue its nefarious infiltration of the Iranian economy," Szubin said.
In addition to freezing assets of the companies, any foreign financial institution that does business with the firms risk losing its correspondent account access to the United States, the department said.
It also designated Malship Shipping Agency Ltd and Modality Limited, which it said were affiliates of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), and two individuals, Seyed Alaeddin Sadat Rasool and Ali Ezati, who it said worked for IRISL.
"IRISL has played a key role in Iran's efforts to advance its missile program and transport other military cargo," the department said.