The United States has hit Iran's Revolutionary Guard and its state-owned shipping lines with new sanctions.
The U.S. Treasury Department announced Tuesday it was barring five entities from dealing with the United States for their connections with the Guard and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
Those targeted include two banks, Ansar Bank and Mehr Bank, two financial companies, Moallem Insurance Company and Bonyad Taavon Sepah, and the executive director of one of the companies, Parviz Fattah.
The Treasury Department said the Guard and the shipping lines were "major institutional participants in Iran's illicit conduct and in its attempts to evade sanctions." It also sanctioned Liner Transport Kish for providing material support to Hezbollah, which Western nations consider a terrorist group.
The United Nations imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran this year for its refusal to stop enriching uranium. Other world bodies, including the U.S., have imposed additional penalties.
Iran denies that its nuclear program is used for anything but peaceful purposes.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.