WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Friday sanctioned more than 25 businesses, banks and individuals suspected of working to expand Iran's nuclear program, support terrorism and help Iran evade U.S. and international sanctions.
The action is part of the Obama administration's effort to show it will enforce existing sanctions even as it works with other world powers to negotiate a deal to curtail Iran's nuclear program. Last year, they struck an interim deal that saw Iran agree to limit its uranium enrichment in return for the easing of some economic sanctions. Negotiators now face a November deadline to come to a final deal.
"Treasury's action against over 25 entities and individuals, who are involved in expanding Iran's proliferation program, supporting terrorism in the region and helping Iran evade U.S. and international sanctions, reflects our continuing determination to take action against anyone, anywhere, who violates our sanctions," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said in a statement.
As a result of the action, Americans are banned from engaging in transactions with any of the designated parties, freezes their assets and blocks all their property or interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction.
Treasury's action targets suspected supporters of Iran's missile and nuclear programs, a bank allegedly involved in providing U.S. dollar bank notes to the Iranian government, those evading existing oil sanctions and people suspected of providing channels through which Iran supports terrorism and the government of President Bashar Assad in Syria.
Among those targeted was the Moscow-based Asia Bank, which the department claims has violated sanctions imposed to prevent Iran's government from acquiring U.S. currency. In mid-2014, Asia Bank converted and facilitated the delivery from Moscow to representatives of the Iranian government more than $13 million in U.S. dollar bank notes, the department said.
Treasury also acted against Meraj Air, an Iranian government airline suspected of ferrying weapons and other cargo to the Syrian government; Caspian Air, an Iran-based airline that the department says is providing support to Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps by transporting people and weapons from Iran to Syria; and Sayyed Jabar Hosseini, a senior Iranian official who has allegedly coordinated Iranian shipments to support terrorist activities outside Iran.
The department also targeting those suspected of evading sanctions on Iranian oil sales, including Faylaca Petroleum, based in Dubai; and Abdelhak Kaddouri of Bern, Switzerland, who is the financial chief of the U.S.-sanctioned National Iranian Oil Co. and owner of the U.S.-sanctioned Swiss Management Services Sarl.
Also sanctioned were Mohammad Javad and Arman Imanirad, both based in Iran, for acting on behalf of a company suspected of procuring aluminum products for Iran's nuclear program; and Nefertiti Shipping, an Egypt-based shipping company that services the National Iranian Tanker Co. and other tankers suspected of moving crude oil to Syria through the Suez Canal.
In addition, the State Department imposed sanctions against four companies suspected of trying to contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The four are: The Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, Nuclear Science and Technology Research Institute and Mandegar Baspar Kimiya Co., all based in Tehran; and Jahan Tech Rooyan Pars, based in Shiraz, Iran.
State also sanctioned Goldentex FZE in the United Arab Emirates which is involved in providing support to Iran's shipping sector, and Dettin SpA, based in Italy, for allegedly providing more than $250,000 in support to Iran's petrochemical industry — an amount that the department says is not within the scope of sanctions relief that Iran agreed upon in completing the interim nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers.