The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on companies in Iran, China and the United Arab Emirates for doing business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and on three Iranian entities over conventional arms proliferation. They are the latest in a series of measures aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration, which ends on Wednesday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington had sanctioned seven companies, including Chinese-based Jiangyin Mascot Special Steel Co and UAE-based Accenture Building Materials, and two people for shipping steel to or from Iran. He said Iran’s Marine Industries Organization, Aerospace Industries Organization and the Iran Aviation Industries Organization had also been blacklisted over conventional arms proliferation. In a statement later on Friday, Pompeo said he was also increasing the scope of metals-related sanctions against Iran administered by the State Department. Those who knowingly transfer 15 materials which the State Department says are used in connection with Iran’s nuclear, military or ballistic missile programs, including certain types of aluminum and steel, would be subject to sanctions, he said. The Iranian president’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, dismissed the sanctions as a “show” which demonstrated the Trump administration’s hostility towards Iran. “The recent U.S. sanctions, while nothing more than a show, are another sign of the Trump administration’s criminal nature – a bankrupt government that even in its last days cannot put aside its hostility towards Iranians,” Vaezi said on Twitter. During his four years in office, Trump has tried to force Tehran back into talks over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its activities in the Middle East. Saying the agreement did not go far enough, Trump in 2018 quit an Iran nuclear deal, which Tehran struck with world powers in 2015 to rein in its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who will succeed Trump on Wednesday, has said he will return to the 2015 nuclear pact if Iran resumes strict compliance with it. Long-range missiles: Meanwhile, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Saturday fired long-range ballistic missiles into the Indian Ocean on the second day of a military exercise, state media reported. The drill, which comes in the waning days of high tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, was conducted in the country’s central desert region. It followed Friday’s testing of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and locally manufactured new drones in the same area. “One of our most important defence policy goals is to use long-range ballistic missiles against enemy warships, including aircraft carriers and warships,” state media quoted Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami as saying. With these missiles, which have a range of 1,800 kilometres, he said, “we can now strike moving targets in the ocean,” instead of the usual low-speed cruise missiles. Saturday’s drill targets were in the Gulf of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean. Chief of Staff General Mohammad Baqeri said while Iran had “no offensive intentions”, it would now be able to “respond to any hostile and malicious act in the shortest time”. On Wednesday, Iran tested short-range naval missile in the Gulf and there were exercises earlier this month that featured a wide array of domestically produced drones. Iran has one of the biggest missile programmes in the Middle East, regarding them as a deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States and other adversaries in the event of war. There have been periodic confrontations between Iran’s military and U.S. forces in the Gulf since 2018, when Trump abandoned Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reinstated harsh sanctions against Tehran. President-elect Joe Biden has said the United States will rejoin the nuclear deal “if Iran resumes strict compliance”.