The United States imposed more sanctions on Iran on Friday in retaliation for its missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq this week and vowed to tighten the economic screws if Tehran continued "terrorist" acts or pursued a nuclear bomb.
The targets of the sanctions included Iran's manufacturing, mining and textile sectors as well as senior Iranian officials who Washington said were involved in the January 8 attack on military bases housing U.S. troops.
Fears that the United States and Iran were heading for war flared over the past week after a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, spurring Iran's retaliatory strike on facilities in Iraq hosting U.S. forces.
No one was harmed in the Iranian ballistic missile attacks and the two sides seem to have stepped back from the brink of all-out conflict. U.S. President Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to impose the additional sanctions, the most concrete U.S. response yet to the attacks.
The measures target eight senior Iranian officials who U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said are responsible for both the government's violence abroad and crackdown on protesters at home.
"We're striking at the heart of the Islamic Republic's inner security apparatus. These sanctions targets include the secretary of the Supreme National Council and the commander of the Basij forces," Pompeo said.
A commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards who was one of those sanctioned on Friday brushed of the new U.S. move as "symbolic."