WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As Washington seeks to pressure Tehran, the United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on an international oil-smuggling network supporting Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force, killing dozens. It targeted people, companies and tankers.
The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement that it had named members of a network that facilitated oil deals and generated revenue for Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps unit, the Quds Force, operating abroad. Stated.
The latest US move against Iranian oil smuggling has strained relations between the Islamic Republic and the West as efforts to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal stall and Iranians continue to hold anti-government protests. It was done while
The Treasury ministry said Thursday that a network of key individuals accused of blending oil, hiding Iranian shipping sources and exporting them around the world in support of the Quds Force and Hezbollah, the front It said it included companies, ships.
“Market participants should be aware that Hezbollah and the IRGC-QF are seeking to generate revenue from oil smuggling to enable terrorist activities around the world,” said the Treasury Department’s Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Officer. Undersecretary Brian Nelson said in a statement.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
The move targeted a Gulf-based network that the Treasury Department said was blending and exporting Iranian oil as of mid-2022. According to Washington, the network used a storage unit in the UAE port of Sharjah and mixed products native to India with Iranian oil to obfuscate its origin.
According to the Ministry of Finance, companies altered or created falsified certificates of oil origin and quality, which were then transferred for sale abroad.
Some oil sales are planned to Asian buyers as of late 2021, according to the Treasury Department, with one of the designated entities, Ava Petroleum, coordinating oil shipments to China.
Washington targeted companies under its control, including Victor Artemov, Edman Nafriyeh, Rouzbeh Zahedi, Mohammed El-Zane, and Ava Petroleum, which the Treasury Department said was used to carry out the activity.
Companies from Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Turkey, Iran and the Marshall Islands were designated, according to the Treasury website.
US Secretary of State Antony Brinken said in a separate statement that the network facilitated the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of oil for Hezbollah and the Quds Force.
Sanctions freeze US assets of designated persons and generally prohibit US persons from dealing with them. Those who conduct certain transactions with them are also at risk of sanctions.
Washington is seeking ways to increase pressure as efforts to maintain broad sanctions against Iran and revive the 2015 nuclear deal stall.
US President Joe Biden was trying to negotiate Iran’s return to the nuclear deal after former President Donald Trump pulled out of it in 2018.
The 2015 agreement limited Iran’s uranium enrichment activities and made it more difficult for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
Reported by Daphne Psaledakis, Katharine Jackson, and Tim Ahmann.Editing: Chiju Nomiyama, William McLean, Bernadette Baum
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