US sanctions two foundations linked to Iran leader

The United States is slapping new financial sanctions on two foundations controlled by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, along with their leaders and subsidiaries.

The US Treasury Department announced the move in a statement on Wednesday.

It said those organizations "control large swaths of the Iranian economy, including assets expropriated from political dissidents and religious minorities."

Under the sanctions, all assets of the designated entities and individuals in the US will be blocked. Transactions with US financial firms will also be prohibited.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, "These institutions enable Iran's elite to sustain a corrupt system of ownership over large parts of Iran's economy."

He added, "The United States will continue to target those who enrich themselves while claiming to help the Iranian people."

President-elect Joe Biden has indicated that he will consider rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers if Tehran resumes compliance.

The Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Iranian steel sector earlier this month. The move is believed to be aimed at preventing the new administration from returning to the agreement.