Actions Target Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Proliferation Activities

By Dialogo
May 29, 2013

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is taking action against 20 individuals and entities for their involvement in Iran’s nuclear and missile proliferation networks and its continued attempts to circumvent sanctions. These networks are responsible for moving supplies and providing essential services to Iran’s clandestine nuclear and weapons programs. These actions are designed to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by tightening sanctions against Iran’s energy sector and exposing key proliferation related networks that span the globe from Europe to Asia.

“As long as Iran continues to pursue a nuclear and ballistic missile program in defiance of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, the U.S. will target and disrupt those involved in Iran’s illicit activities,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “We will continue to work with our international partners to intensify this pressure and tighten sanctions on Iran’s energy sector as it provides much needed financial support for the Iranian regime’s proliferation activity.”

Fourteen of the entities and individuals designated are part of Iran’s international procurement and proliferation operations. These designations are being made pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets weapons of mass destruction proliferators and their supporters. The designations focus on entities and individuals supporting previously designated entities within Iran’s proliferation network as well as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), and Iran’s Ministry of Defense for Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). These organizations are at the center of Iran’s continued proliferation activities. These designations include companies supporting IRGC attempts to clandestinely ship illicit cargo around the world, including to Syria. They also target the Deputy Defense Minister and Dean of Malek Ashtar University, who is responsible for significant contributions to Iran’s missile program, as well as companies and individuals supporting Iran’s nuclear program.

The U.S. Treasury identified Seifollah Jashnsaz, Chairman of NICO and director of Hong Kong Intertrade Company and Petro Suisse Intertrade Company SA as well as five individuals holding other leadership positions in Iran’s energy sector who have been involved in Iranian attempts to evade international sanctions. These individuals work for the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), NICO, and previously-identified Iranian front companies. Specifically, they are being identified as subject to sanctions under E.O. 13599, which, among other things, targets the Government of Iran (GOI) and persons acting for or on behalf of the GOI. In addition to Seifollah Jashnsaz, the following individuals were identified: Ahmad Ghalebani, managing director of NIOC and a director of both Petro Suisse Intertrade Company SA and Hong Kong Intertrade Company; Farzad Bazargan, managing director of Hong Kong Intertrade Company; Hashem Pouransari, NICO official and managing director of Asia Energy General Trading LLC; and Mahmoud Nikousokhan, NIOC finance director and a director of Petro Suisse Intertrade Company SA.

In 2008, the Treasury Department identified NIOC and NICO, both centrally involved in the sale of Iranian oil, as entities that are owned or controlled by the GOI. Additionally, NIOC was determined to be an agent or affiliate of the IRGC in November 2012 and NICO was designated under E.O. 13382 in April 2013 for being owned or controlled by NIOC. In order to prevent the circumvention of the international community’s sanctions on oil trade with Iran, the Department of the Treasury later identified, among others, Switzerland-based Petro Suisse Intertrade Company SA, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)-based Asia Energy General Trading LLC, and Hong Kong-based Hong Kong Intertrade Company as front companies for NIOC or NICO.

U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the entities and individuals listed, and any assets of those persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. Additionally, the designations under E.O. 13382 carry consequences under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA). Foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions or provide significant financial services for these sanctioned entities or individuals are exposed to potential loss of access to the U.S. financial system.