US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday that the Trump administration would expand its metals sanctions against Iran to cover 22 additional materials used in various Iranian programs.

“Today, the State Department is identifying 22 specific materials used in connection with Iran’s nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs. Those who knowingly transfer such materials to Iran are now sanctionable pursuant to Section 1245 of the Iranian Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act,” the Pompeo statement said.

Pompeo also noted that the IRGC’s construction firm and many of its subsidiaries remain sanctioned by the United Nations, claiming that “they were directly involved in the construction of the uranium enrichment site at Fordow”.

“As a result of this IRGC determination, any knowing transfer of certain materials, including graphite or raw or semi-finished metals, to or from Iran to be used in connection with the construction sector of Iran remains sanctionable”, his statement said.

In early July, Iran filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the impact of Washington’s sanctions amid the coronavirus pandemic, implying that not only the country’s oil-dependent economy had suffered, but the sanctions also undermine Iran’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The Islamic republic has been one of the most coronavirus-affected countries in the region, with currently over 290,000 registered cases.