U.S. identifies IRGC fronts in Switzerland, Malaysia, Isle of Man
WASHINGTON – The United States has identified and penalized alleged foreign affiliates of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Treasury Department has designated five corporate officers and 10 businesses as fronts of IRGC abroad. Officials said the companies were helping IRGC transport military equipment, including weapons of mass destruction components, to Teheran.
"As long as Iran uses front companies, cut-outs and other forms of deception to hide its illicit activities, we intend to expose this conduct and thereby counteract Iran's attempts to evade U.S. and international sanctions," Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey said.
In a Nov. 30 statement, Treasury said sanctions were imposed on affiliates related to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines [IRISL] or Bank Mellat. Both entities have already been under U.S. sanctions on charges of helping IRGC's WMD program.
Officials said IRISL, sanctioned in September 2008, has increasingly relied on front companies abroad. The shipping line, controlled by IRGC, was deemed a major element in logistics for Iran's military.
The IRGC fronts were identified included Pearl Energy Co., based in Malaysia. Pearl, whose director Ali Afzali was also sanctioned, has been owned by a subsidiary of Bank Mellat.
A subsidiary of Pearl Energy, called Pearl Energy Services, was also designated for sanctions. Treasury also sanctioned four top IRISL executives and eight IRISL front companies located on the Isle of Man near Britain.
Officials said Pearl Energy Co. was formed by First East Export Bank a previously designated subsidiary of Bank Mellat and assigned to help Iran's nuclear program "to provide economic research on global industries." They said Pearl, a major stake of which has been owned by Afzali, was controlled
by and acted on behalf of Bank Mellat. Pearl Energy Services has been based in Switzerland.
"Pearl Energy Services is wholly owned by Pearl Energy Co.," Treasury said. "Its mission is to provide financing and expertise to entities seeking to enter Iran's petroleum sector."
Other IRISL fronts identified and sanctioned by Treasury were all located on the Isle of Man. They were Ashtead Shipping Co., Byfleet Shipping Co., Cobham Shipping Co., Dorking Shipping Co., Effingham Shipping Co., Farnham Shipping Co., Gomshall Shipping Co. and Horsham Shipping Co. The director of
all eight fronts was identified as Ahmed Sarkandi, sanctioned in October.
Treasury also identified managers of other IRISL fronts. Mohammed Dajmar has been chairman of IRISL and such fronts as Safiran Payam Darya Shipping Co., Hafiz Darya Shipping Co. and Soroush Sarzamin Asatir Ship Management Co. Another senior Iranian executive, Gholamhossein Golparvar, as well as Hassan
Jalil Zadeh also came under sanctions.
"Today's actions will help governments, banks and other private companies around the world ensure that they do not inadvertently facilitate Iran's proliferation and support for terrorism," Levey said.