The United States Treasury Department said that it broke up a network of front companies that transferred more than $1 billion to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in violation of U.S. sanctions, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Tuesday.
According to the statement from Treasury, the firms acting as front companies for the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) are based in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran. The goal of naming these front companies is to maintain the “maximum pressure campaign” being conducted by the U.S. that “severely constricts the regime’s sources of revenue.”
The naming of the front companies “exposes an extensive sanctions evasion network established by the Iranian regime.”
Ansar Bank — which is controlled by the IRGC — was at the center of the network. Other companies named by Treasury were Ansar Exchange, Atlas Company, Atlas Exchange, the Ansar Bank Brokerage Company, and Ansar Information Technology.
In addition, Treasury named Zagros Pardis Kish for its role in shipping hundreds of vehicles to Iran from the UAE.
“We are targeting a vast network of front companies and individuals located in Iran, Turkey, and the UAE to disrupt a scheme the Iranian regime has used to illicitly move more than a billion dollars in funds,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement. “The IRGC, MODAFL, and other malign actors in Iran continue to exploit the international financial system to evade sanctions, while the regime funds terrorism and other destabilizing activities across the region.”
This latest round of sanctions comes in the wake of new nuclear-related sanctions recently imposed on Iran. Last week, Treasury imposed sanctions on individuals associated with Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, also known by the acronym, SPND, which is in charge of its nuclear weapons program.
While Iran has put its nuclear weapons program on hold, a State Department official explained that it has retained scientists who will “keep their skills sharp” until the time that Iran chooses to revive its overt pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“The United States strongly condemns Iran’s efforts to maintain its band of former nuclear weapons researchers, preserve their work, and continue sensitive procurement activities,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said. “Other Iranian individuals who work for the regime’s nuclear program should know they risk being sanctioned by the United States.”
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