This is part of the US larger policy of putting pressure on the Regime to radically alter its malign behaviours, including developing ballistic missiles, supporting terrorists, and abusing human rights.
According to the Treasury, the Bonyad Taavon Basij network shows how the IRGC and Iran’s military have increased their financial involvement in major industries and seemingly legitimate businesses in order to fund terrorism and other horrible activities.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement: “This vast network provides financial infrastructure to the Basij’s efforts to recruit, train and indoctrinate child soldiers who are coerced into combat under the IRGC’s direction.
The international community must understand that business entanglements with the Bonyad Taavon Basij network and IRGC front companies have real-world humanitarian consequences. This helps fuel the Iranian regime’s violent ambitions across the Middle East.”
These sanctions ban Americans from doing business with the network or its affiliates and freeze any assets they have in the US.
The Donald Trump administration has been reimposing sanctions on Iran since May, when the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord. This has had a grave impact on the Iranian economy, which was already destabalised by decades of corruption and mismanagement, and now the country is facing nationwide protests from its people.
The first round of nuclear-related sanctions was reimposed in August and the second set will be reimposed in November.
The sanctions announced this week are non-nuclear, targeting the business network of the Basij Force; a paramilitary unit run by the IRGC.
The Treasury said that the Basij Force brainwashes schoolchildren and provides combat training to 12-year-old Iranian and Afghan refugee children, whom they send to fight in Syria.
Iran has tried to downplay US sanctions, especially those targeting the country’s vital oil and gas sector, which will come into place on November 4.
But they have tried to avoid further international sanctions by voting to join the Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), a global convention to cut off terror financing. However, given Iran’s long history of providing support to terrorist groups like the Lebanese Hezbollah and armed Palestinian groups, it seems unlikely that the Regime is committed to this in reality.