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US Slaps Terrorist Designation on Iran-Linked Group

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WASHINGTON — The United States designated a Shiite militant group in Bahrain as a foreign terrorist organization Tuesday to ramp up pressure on Iran.
The al-Ashtar Brigades are “yet another in a long line of Iranian-sponsored terrorists who kill on behalf of a corrupt regime,” Nathan Sales, the coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department, said in a statement detailing the designation.
The militant group has been critical of a violent crackdown by Bahrain’s Sunni-led government on a 2011 Shiite-led uprising. It has since claimed responsibility for a number of bombings and attacks in Bahrain, including two that killed police.
The designation, which prohibits Americans or U.S. companies from doing business with the group, is the latest Trump administration effort to increase pressure on Tehran after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear accord.

Pompeo: Iran’s Behavior Is ‘Unacceptable’

During a short trip to the United Arab Emirates Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is on a mission to convince Iran its behavior “is unacceptable and has a real high cost for them.”
Iran supports a number of armed groups across the Middle East including Hezbollah in Lebanon, armed forces propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and powerful armed groups in Iraq who fought against the so-called Islamic State there.

US Prepares Sanctions on Iranian Oil

The United States is preparing to re-introduce sanctions on Iran later this year including secondary sanctions aimed at severely restricting the country’s ability to export oil. In turn, Iran has threatened to disrupt Mideast oil supplies.
The Trump administration has targeted the al-Ashtar Brigades with sanctions before. In March 2017, the State Department blacklisted two individuals affiliated with the group, Ahmad Hasan Yusuf and Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email