US sanctions so-called ‘Iran-linked individuals’, Chinese entities

Among the entities facing sanctions, four out of the five are located in China.

  • This June 6, 2019, file photo shows the U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk in Washington (AP)

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) within the US Treasury Department on Friday announced sanctions against five individuals and five entities associated with Iran.

OFAC specified that the five sanctioned individuals, all of whom are Iranian nationals, are allegedly affiliated with the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Cyber-Electronic Command. This information was included in an update to its specially designated nationals list.

Among the entities facing sanctions, four out of the five are located in China. These include China Oil and Petroleum Company, Advantage Trading Company, and FY International Trading Company.

Read more: US sanctions Iranian, Hezbollah alleged ‘financial network’

Targeting alleged financial networks

Last month, OFAC announced it had imposed sanctions on several people and organizations allegedly associated with Hamas, Hezbollah, Kata’ib Hezbollah, and the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC-QF).

According to a release, the US also worked with Australian and UK authorities to target several networks of financial exchanges in the Gaza Strip that allegedly are associated with Hamas, as well as the owners and associates of these networks.

Of particular interest are financial facilitators who have been accused of being instrumental in transferring funds from the IRGC-QF to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

The sanctions allegedly aim to “disrupt financial networks affiliated with Hamas in Gaza”, including those facilitating cryptocurrency transfers, and mark a coordinated effort with the UK and Australia.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, pointed out the diverse financial mechanisms employed by Hamas, stating: “Hamas has sought to leverage a variety of financial transfer mechanisms, including the exploitation of cryptocurrency, to channel funds to support” the group’s resistance activities.

Prior US actions in October and May of 2022 also aimed at dismantling sources of support and financing for the Palestinian resistance. 

Read more: Israeli occupation forces steal $2.76 mln from West Bank shops, Banks

No evidence for sanctions

Fly Baghdad was also accused of aiding the operations of IRGC-QF and its allies by transporting personnel and equipment throughout the region.

According to OFAC, the airline allegedly delivered weapons to Damascus International Airport in Syria for transfer to IRGC-QF and the resistance Axis, including Lebanese Hezbollah and Kataib Hezbollah.

Fly Baghdad condemned the sanctions as a “great injustice” and asserted that the decision by the US was “based on misleading and unreal information that cannot stand up to the law.

“Can we ignore all the laws to this extent to put weapons on our planes?,” Namir al-Qaissi, the director of aviation security at Fly Baghdad said. “In any country, how can a plane with weapons land and take off without the state knowing?”

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