The United States on Tuesday slapped a terrorist designation on an Iran-backed militant group in Bahrain as the Trump administration seeks to ramp up financial pressure on Tehran.
The move targets al-Ashtar Brigades, a militant group that has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Bahrain, including one in 2014 that killed three police officers.
The terrorist designation cuts off the group from assets under the jurisdiction of the U.S. and seeks to isolate it from other funding sources.
It is the latest in a series of U.S. moves designed to pressure Iran in the months after President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE withdrew from the 2015 deal that sought to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.
"Al-Ashtar is yet another in a long line of Iranian sponsored terrorists who kill on behalf of a corrupt regime," Nathan Sales, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, said in a statement.
"Today’s designation serves notice that the United States sees plainly what Iran is trying to do to Bahrain through its proxy, the terrorist group Al-Ashtar."
Before he withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May, Trump railed against the pact, which he said failed to address Iran's activities beyond its nuclear program, such as its support for organizations deemed terrorist groups by the U.S.
In the months that have followed the U.S. withdrawal, the Trump administration has sought to put intense pressure on Tehran, sanctioning groups affiliated with the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and launching an effort to pressure other countries to end imports of Iranian oil.
The U.S. is expected to put sanctions on Iranian crude exports in place in early November.