US Sanctions Target 11 Entities, 5 People for Violating Iran Sanctions

The U.S. Treasury and State departments on Thursday announced sanctions on 11 entities in Iran, China and Singapore for buying and selling Iranian petrochemicals. In addition, the Justice Department announced two forfeiture complaints against Iran for the recent seizures of Iranian weapons bound for Yemen and refined petroleum bound for Venezuela. “The two forfeiture complaints allege sophisticated schemes by the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] to secretly ship weapons to Yemen and fuel to Venezuela, countries that pose grave threats to the security and stability of their respective regions,” John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement. “Iran continues to be a leading state sponsor of terrorism and a worldwide destabilizing force. It is with great satisfaction that I can announce that our intentions are to take the funds successfully forfeited from the fuel sales and provide them to the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund after the conclusion of the case.” According Demers, in November 2019 and February 2020, U.S. Navy ships interdicted flagless vessels carrying “large stocks of weapons, including 171 guided anti-tank missiles, eight surface-to-air missiles, and various other missile components.” FILE – The crew of the USS Normandy seized this illicit shipment of weapons and weapon components intended for the Houthis in Yemen, aboard a stateless dhow in the Arabian Sea, Feb. 9, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo)An investigation revealed the weapons to be manufactured in Iran and “consistent with known Iranian weapon systems.” On Aug. 20, 2020, the Justice Department filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking to forfeit the seized weapons. The second forfeiture complaint was filed on July 20, 2020, by the department’s National Security Division and the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia. It sought the forfeiture of 1.1 million barrels of Iranian petroleum seized from four foreign-flagged vessels headed to Venezuela. FILE – The Luna oil tanker is seen in this undated image released by the U.S. Justice Department, which on Aug. 14, 2020, confirmed it had seized the fuel cargo aboard four tankers, including the Luna, sent by Iran to crisis-wracked Venezuela.The seized petroleum has been subsequently sold by the United States. “These actions demonstrate our commitment to working with all of our law enforcement partners to stem the flow of illicit weapons, oil, and money from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other organizations that would do harm to the United States,” U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said in a statement. “The U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia will use all available tools, including our jurisdiction to seize and forfeit assets located abroad, to counter terrorist funding and weapons proliferation.” 

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