The United States has moved to disrupt an Iranian-Russian network that it said had sent millions of barrels of oil to the Assad regime and hundreds of millions of dollars to indirectly fund US-designated militant groups, including Hezbollah.
The United States announced it was imposing sanctions on six people and three entities for their involvement in oil shipments to the Assad regime, the US Treasury Department said in a statement on Tuesday.
In return for the oil shipments, the Assad regime facilitates the movement of hundreds of millions of US dollars to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the statement added.
Those targeted include Syrian Mohammad Amer Alchwiki and his Russia-based company Global Vision Group, which were central to the delivery of Iranian oil to Syria and the transfer of funds to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force’s “lethal proxies”, the Treasury Department said.
Other targets include Syrian national Hajji Abd Al-Nasir, Lebanese national Muhammad Qasim Al-Bazzal and Russian national Andrey Dogaev, as well as Iranian nationals Rasoul Sajjad and Hossein Yaghoubi Miab, the statement said.
Sajjad and Yaghoubi, Central Bank of Iran officials, worked to facilitate Alchwiki’s transfers, it said.
Others sanctioned include state-owned Russian company Promsyrioimport, a subsidiary of the Russian Energy Ministry, which the US Treasury alleges had facilitated shipments of Iranian oil to Syria, as well as Mir Business Bank and Iran-based Tadbir Kish Medical and Pharmaceutical Company.
The State Department’s Twitter account in Persian on Tuesday posted a tweet quoting Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran as saying: “When companies trade with the Islamic Republic, they might be funding terrorism, even in their own country. Our sanctions aim to block the regime’s capabilities in exporting terrorism. We are very vigilant about attempts to evade sanctions, and we will not hesitate to stop them.”
The US State Department on October 10 said that over the past eight years, the Iranian regime has spent over $16 billion to support terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, which disrupted efforts to reach a UN-led political solution.
Tough US sanctions on Iran took effect three weeks ago, mainly targeting Iran’s oil exports and the central bank. The United States has been ratcheting up pressure on the Tehran regime to force it to change its behavior and policies in the region as well as curb its ballistic missile program. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Asharq al-Awsat)