Iran announced new sanctions on 15 U.S. companies for their support of Israel on March 26. The sanctions specifically target companies “for directly or indirectly participating in brutal Israeli crimes in occupied Palestine or that have backed terrorism by [Israel] or have violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 regarding the expansion of illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.” The list of 15 corporations consists mostly of defense firms who provide weaponry and technologies to Israel, but even includes Re/Max Real Estate, which has been accused of buying and selling homes in illegal settlements.
The Iranian sanctions follow a Congressional announcement to impose sanctions on multiple companies that work with Iran’s ballistic missile program. The sanctions also target companies who collaborate with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, a wing of its military accused of terrorism by many U.S. officials such as House Speaker Paul Ryan. Similarly, Iran has threatened to undertake future actions against the U.S. military and the CIA, which it accuses of supporting terrorism in the Middle East. These actions reflect Congress’ concerns with Iran and its continuing support for the Assad Regime in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Houthi Rebels in Yemen.
The back-and-forth sanctions also mirror growing tensions between the two governments since President Trump assumed office in January. Trump and Republicans alike regularly criticize the Iran Nuclear Deal implemented under the Obama administration. Likewise, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly warned that increased sanctions would jeopardize this deal. Nonetheless, the bipartisan sanctions were cautious to not jeopardize the nuclear deal reached in 2015.