U.S. blacklists firms, individuals over Iran missile program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted two Iranian companies on Thursday for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program and also sanctioned two British businessmen it said were helping an airline used by the country’s Revolutionary Guards.

The United States blacklisted Shahid Nuri Industries and Shahid Movahed Industries, cutting them off from international finance. It said they were working for Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which the United States says is responsible for Iran’s ballistic missile program.

A nuclear deal signed in July by Iran, the United States and other world powers left a number of differences unresolved. The Obama administration on Thursday announced the indictment of seven Iranians for a coordinated campaign of cyber attacks on dozens of U.S. banks and a New York dam between 2011 and 2013.

Iran test-fired several ballistic missiles earlier this month. The United States and other Western nations said the tests violate a U.N. resolution.

Washington imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals for supplying Iran’s ballistic missile program after a series of tests last year. The tests have stoked calls among Republicans in Congress for continued sanctions against Iran.

“We will continue to use all of our tools to counteract Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for terrorism, including through sanctions,” said Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in the Treasury statement.

The Treasury Department also blacklisted two British businessmen, Jeffrey John James Ashfield and John Edward Meadows, for running businesses that have provided support for Mahan Air, an Iranian airline. The United States has accused Mahan Air of ferrying troops, equipment and weapons to support the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.

Ashfield was “directly involved” as of late 2015 in negotiating the purchase of U.S. aircraft engines for Mahan Air, the Treasury said. Meadows is the director of a company that has worked to provide aviation parts and financing to Mahan Air, the Treasury said.

Two companies in the United Arab Emirates, Grandeur General Trading FZE and HSI Trading FZE, were also blocked for supporting Mahan Air.

Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky