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US Sanctions Iranians It Says Are Linked to Tehran's 'WMD' Program

FILE - This photo released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry, June 9, 2019, shows the Khordad 15, a new surface-to-air missile battery, at an undisclosed location in Iran.

The United States has placed sanctions on the leaders of two procurement networks it says are linked to the Iranian government for allegedly engaging in undercover acquisition activities it maintains benefited the Iranian military.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday one of the networks is led by Iranian national Hamed Dehghan, the CEO and chairman of Pishtazan Kavosh Gostar Boshra, LLC, and manager and board chairman of Ebtekar Sanat Ilya.

The agency said the network operated by Hamed Dehghan used a Hong Kong-based company to evade U.S. and global sanctions, and to target U.S. technology and components for people linked to the Iranian government and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Treasury Department said the second network, led by Iranian national Seyed Hossein Shariat, purchased Nuclear Suppliers Group's aluminum alloy products for the benefit of Iran's military.

"As the Iranian regime attempts to use complex schemes to hide its efforts to bolster its WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), the U.S. government will continue to thwart them at every turn," said Treasury Department official Sigal Mandelker.

The department said it also imposed sanctions on individuals linked to the networks.

The sanctions are part of an ongoing U.S. campaign to increase economic pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

In May of 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 agreement with Iran and five other countries that aims to restrict Iran's nuclear program.

Trump said Monday he would be receptive to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani said he would consider a meeting only if the U.S. first dropped its sanctions against his country.