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OFAC designates Iran shipping firms, oil companies involved with Syria oil shipments

27 Oct 2020

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Monday (26 October) designated the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) and its associated firms as sanctioned entities.

“The regime in Iran uses the petroleum sector to fund the destabilising activities of the IRGC-QF,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

“The Iranian regime continues to prioritise its support for terrorist entities and its nuclear program over the needs of the Iranian people.”

It identified NITC Managing Director Nasrollah Sardashti working with Hizballah on logistics and pricing for oil shipments to Syria. 

Sardashti also worked with Qatirji Group representative Viyan Zanganeh and a senior Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force official to facilitate the shipment of millions of dollars of oil by NITC. 

“In mid-2020, Zanganeh continued to act as an intermediary between the IRGC-QF and a Syrian regime-affiliated business, arranging for the funding of the release of a seized vessel and additional shipments of fuel oil,” stated OFAC.

Further, the OFAC highlighted NITC setting up a front company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), namely Atlas Ship Management. NITC officials also arranged to create a separate UAE-based front company, Atlantic Ship Management Company, ostensibly as an entity to replace Atlas Ship Management.

Sanctioned firms under Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum include the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company, Iranian Oil Pipelines and Telecommunications Company, National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company, Abadan Oil Refining Company, Imam Khomeini Shazand Oil Refining Company, and the National Petrochemical Company.

The OFAC is also targeting two United Kingdom-based companies, namely Mobin Holding Limited and Oman Fuel Trading Ltd, for their associated with Mahmoud Madanipour and UAE-based Mobin International Limited over an agreement with designated Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. to ship gasoline obtained from NIOC to the Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Photo credit: Ken Chan

Published: 27 October, 2020

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