On March 17, 2020, rockets fired by Iranian proxies fell into the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq. This comes after several days of escalation, in which militias launched rockets and coalition forces responded with airstrikes. Although there were no apparent casualties, the United States responded by slapping new sanctions on the embattled Iranian regime. These sanctions take aim at nine entities and three individuals, who Secretary of State Mike Pompeo believes, “have engaged in activity that could enable the Iranian regime’s violent behavior.” Amongst those targeted are three Chinese shipping companies: Dalian Golden Sun Import & Export Co., Ltd., Tianyi International (Dalian) Co., Ltd., and Aoxing Ship Management (Shanghai) Ltd,
What It Means:
In the midst of an already overwhelming crisis, the new sanctions present Iran with a fresh set of problems. The overwhelming amount of sanctions have left officials scrambling for supplies needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Targeting shippers will leave Iran hard pressed to find cargo firms willing to transit waters in defiance of US sanctions. Although Iran can produce some goods needed for medical professionals, secondary suppliers and some specialized equipment can only be found outside the rouge states borders.