oil refinery
© Reuters / Essam Al-Sudani
Abadan oil refinery in southwest Iran, pictured in September 2019
The United States has applied fresh economic sanctions to two Iranian individuals and six companies, including four firms tied to Iran's national oil company. The move comes following a military standoff between both countries.

The US Department of the Treasury accuses the four international petroleum and petrochemical firms of helping Tehran export "hundreds of millions of dollars" worth of oil, which it says helps the Iranian government fund the Islamic Revolutionary Guard COrps (IRGC) and its "terrorist proxies."

Among them are an Iranian company and a Dubai-based firm, while others are based in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The latest sanctions come two weeks after the Treasury Department slapped penalties on eight Iranian government officials and a collection of Iranian metals firms, accusing them of providing funds towards Iran's nuclear program. All in all, the Trump administration has applied more than a thousand individual Iran-related sanctions since it unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal) in 2018.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran reached boiling point earlier this month, after the US assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani with a drone strike in Baghdad. The killing prompted Iran to launch a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi bases used by American troops in response, bringing the two countries closer to open war than at any point in recent years.

US President Donald Trump opted not to retaliate with military force, however, instead promising further economic sanctions on Iran.

State Secretary Mike Pompeo said at the time that the sanctions will remain in place until Iran behaves "like a normal country."