UK and US hit Iran with new sanctions in wake of attack on Israel

The sanctions come amid fears of further escalation in the Middle East, ITV News' Correspondent Lucy Watson reports

The UK and US hit Iran with a raft of fresh sanctions on Thursday in response to its "unprecedented" drone and missile attack on Israel.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) added seven individuals and six entities involved in Tehran’s drone and ballistic missile programme to its sanctions list.

It confirmed the 13 new entries - which the prime minister described as "ringleaders of the Iranian military" - are now subject to an asset freeze.

Meanwhile, Washington targeted 16 people and two entities in Iran that produce engines for the drones deployed in the weekend assault on Israel.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned Iran's attack as a "reckless act and a dangerous escalation", adding: “These sanctions – announced with the US – show we unequivocally condemn this behaviour, and they will further limit Iran’s ability to destabilise the region.”

Foreign Secretary, David Cameron said:   “At a time of great tension in the Middle East, Iran’s decision to launch hundreds of drones and missiles towards Israel carried with it a serious risk of thousands of civilian casualties and wider escalation for the region."

“The MSC Aries and its crew should be released immediately, and Iran should halt its reckless and unlawful behaviour. Further escalation is in no one’s interest," he added.   

The UK has already sanctioned several Iranians along with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

US President Joe Biden said in a statement: “Today, we are holding Iran accountable - imposing new sanctions and export controls on Iran."

“As I discussed with my fellow G7 leaders the morning after the attack, we are committed to acting collectively to increase economic pressure on Iranm," the statement continued. "And our allies and partners have or will issue additional sanctions and measures to restrict Iran’s destabilising military programmes.”

Tel Aviv has vowed to respond to Iran’s weekend attack, despite calls for restraint from allies, some of whom – including the UK, US and France – helped Israel repel Tehran’s drone and missile barrage.

This has raised fears of further escalation in the region.

The onslaught followed Israel’s targeting of an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria earlier this month.

Israel and Iran have waged a shadow war for decades, but the strike over the weekend was the first direct Iranian military attack on Israel.

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