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New U.S. sanctions target the Iranian regime’s illicit oil shipping to Syria

The U.S. Treasury Department
The U.S. Treasury Department

Reported by PMOI/MEK


Nov. 22, 2018 - On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department slapped new sanctions against a number of individuals and entities linked to an illicit scheme by the Iranian regime to ship millions of barrels of oil to Syria, where Tehran has been backing the Assad regime in a brutal war against popular uprisings and opposition forces.

The Iranian regime used the oil trafficking scheme to fund groups that have been designated as terrorist groups, according to the U.S. Treasury.

The sanctioned individuals include two officials working with Iran’s Central Bank. The U.S. administration is also sanctioning an Iranian entity that poses as a medical and pharmaceutical company. U.S. officials say this company has been actively involved in facilitating illicit money transfers for the Iranian regime.

The sanctions also target a Syrian national and his Russia-based company Global Vision Group, as well as Promsyrioimport, a state-owned Russian company and a subsidiary of the Russian energy ministry.

“Today we are acting against a complex scheme Iran and Russia have used to bolster the Assad regime and generate funds for Iranian malign activity,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “Central Bank of Iran officials continue to exploit the international financial system, and in this case even used a company whose name suggests a trade in humanitarian goods as a tool to facilitate financial transfers supporting this oil scheme."

In exchange for the oil shipments, the Assad regime has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the IRGC Quds force, which the Iranian regime has spent to fund the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The latest measure is part of the U.S. policy to counter the “destructive and destabilizing behavior” of the Iranian regime.

The Iranian regime’s violent intervention in neighboring countries has taken its toll on the lives of the Iranian people. Every year, the Iranian regime spends billions of dollars to fuel sectarian violence and wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Palestine, all of which is being paid out of the pockets of the Iranian people.

Iranian regime officials claim that their meddling in the countries of the region are meant to protect their own country. But to the people of Iran, who are directly feeling the impact of the squandering of Iran’s wealth in their daily lives, those arguments are sounding increasingly hollow. As far as the Iranian people are concerned, Tehran’s costly foreign ventures are aimed at maintaining the regime’s grasp on its regional hegemony, a key to its survival. Meanwhile, the Iranian people are struggling for their most basic needs and to make ends meet.

In December, protests erupted across Iran over poor economic conditions and soon turned into anti-regime uprisings. Protesters chanted slogans that criticized the regime for its meddling in foreign countries. “Leave Syria, think about us” and “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran” were some of the slogans the protesters chanted.

The protests, which have intermittently continued since then, have constantly targeted the corruption of Iranian regime officials and have called for the overthrow of the regime in its entirety.

The sanctions against the regime’s illicit financial channels and practices will be an important step to prevent Tehran’s mullahs from squandering the wealth of the Iranian people on waging war in the Middle East region.