The United States is warning the Iranian regime’s nuclear scientists to stop working toward nuclear weapons and pursue peaceful endeavors.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivered that message May 27, announcing sanctions against two Iranian officials who have sought to advance the regime’s nuclear weapons program.

“Iran’s nuclear personnel need to make a choice — work for Iranian proliferation organizations and risk being sanctioned or put their skills to work for the Iranian people in pursuits outside of the proliferation realm,” Pompeo said in a statement.

The U.S. State Department sanctioned Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Managing Director Amjad Sazgar, who supervised the installation of centrifuges at Iran’s Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant in 2019. Also targeted is Majid Agha’i, who manages an AEOI subsidiary responsible for research and development of advanced centrifuges.

People standing inside plant with large circular structure in center (© Atomic Energy Organization of Iran/AP Images)
Late last year, Iran’s regime began new operations at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, seen here in December 2019. (© Atomic Energy Organization of Iran/AP Images)

The international community denounced Iran’s regime in July 2019 for breaching its past promises by stockpiling and enriching uranium beyond any peaceful need. The U.S. is using sanctions to pressure Iran’s leaders to stop pursuing nuclear weapons and funding terrorism, and instead spend resources on the Iranian people.

The new sanctions are the latest measures targeting nuclear scientists who work for the Iranian regime. In January, the State Department sanctioned the AEOI itself, and its leader Ali Akbar Salehi, for his work to expand the regime’s capacity to enrich uranium.

And in March 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned 10 Iranian scientists for supporting the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

U.S. sanctions prohibit individuals from conducting business or accessing property in the United States.

Pompeo said the newly sanctioned officials have contributed to the Iranian regime’s “provocative and destabilizing” efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction.

“The Iranian regime has continued its nuclear brinkmanship by expanding proliferation sensitive activities,” the secretary said in a statement. “The regime’s nuclear extortion will lead to increased pressure on Iran and further isolate the regime from the international community.”