FILE - In this June 25, 2019, file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy Kabul during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan. On Monday, March 23, 2020, Pompeo arrived in Kabul on an urgent visit to try to move forward a U.S. peace deal signed last month with the Taliban. Pompeo's trip to the Afghan capital comes despite the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when world leaders and statesmen are curtailing official travel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

The United States on Wednesday blacklisted two Iranian foundations allegedly related to the leadership, the latest move to reinforce its maximum pressure campaign against Tehran.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that it had sanctioned the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), Astan Quds Razavi (AQR) along with their leaders and subsidiaries.

“These institutions enable Iran’s elite to sustain a corrupt system of ownership over large parts of Iran’s economy,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

According to the statement, all property and interests of the property of designated individuals and entities in the United States have been blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from transactions with them. In addition, persons and foreign financial institutions that engage in certain transactions with them may be exposed to sanctions.

The administration of outgoing President Donald Trump has doubled down maximum pressure campaign against Iran in its waning days.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of ties to terrorist group al-Qaeda, saying Iran had become a “new home base” for al-Qaeda. Iran immediately refuted the allegation. “From designating Cuba to fictitious Iran ‘declassifications’ and AQ claims, Mr. ‘we lie, cheat, steal’ is pathetically ending his disastrous career with more warmongering lies,” tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “No one is fooled. All 9/11 terrorists came from @SecPompeo’s favorite ME destinations; NONE from Iran,” he added.

Relations between Washington and Tehran have deteriorated since May 2018 when Trump pulled his country out of the Iranian nuclear deal and reimposed harsh sanctions against Iran. In response, Tehran has gradually dropped some of its JCPOA commitments since May 2019.

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