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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands next to his airplane before boarding it to Beirut at Ben Gurion airport near Lod, Israel on March 22, 2019. Photo by Jim Young/Pool via Reuters

U.S. hits Iran with new sanctions while Pompeo tours Middle East

WASHINGTON— The Trump administration is hitting Iran with new sanctions while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is denouncing Iran’s growing influence on a visit to Lebanon.

The Treasury Department says the sanctions target 31 Iranian scientists, technicians and companies involved in the country’s nuclear and missile research and development programs. They are affiliated with Iran’s Organization for Defense Innovation and Research.

A senior official says the sanctions make those targeted “radioactive internationally” by making anyone who does business with them subject to U.S. penalties.

The announcement comes as Pompeo is in Beirut warning Lebanese officials to curb the influence of the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement. He says Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and should not be allowed to set policies or wield power despite its presence in Lebanon’s parliament and government.

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