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US Sanctions 26 Companies for Iran Trade

The United States has extended sanctions to more than two dozen companies it says have been operating as fronts for Iranian businesses involved in Tehran's missile programs.

The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday that 24 of the firms have ties with the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, while two are affiliated with Aerospace Industries, a subsidiary of Iran's defense ministry.

The U.S. had previously blacklisted IRISL and AIO under sanctions targeting alleged supporters of what the United States describes as Iran's nuclear weapons development program. Tehran says its nuclear work is aimed at producing electricity.

The Treasury Department said 20 of the firms tied to IRISL are located in Hong Kong with another four in the Isle of Man, a self-governed British territory. The two AIO affiliates are Tehran-based companies.

The latest actions will cut off the designated firms from the U.S. financial and commercial systems. The move will also seek to freeze assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

Similar moves in the past have effectively cut off international financing to sanctioned entities.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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