THERAN - The United States has issued sanctions against an international network of people and entities supporting Iran’s efforts to export crude oil.
A Thursday statement from the U.S. Treasury Department designated members of the network assisting exports of oil from Iran as smugglers who generated revenues for Iran’s elite Quds military force and the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.
Iran has increased its supply of crude oil to international customers over the past year in a clear defiance of American sanctions targeting its energy sector.
That has irritated Washington which seeks to increase pressure on Iran to force the country into concessions about its defense and foreign policy agenda.
The U.S. Treasury said the network targeted in Thursday sanctions included individuals, front companies and vessels that were involved in blending oil to conceal the Iranian origins of export shipments.
It claimed that a network of individuals and companies based in the Port of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates has used storage units in the area since mid-2022 to blend products of Indian origin with Iranian oil to obfuscate the origin.
Washington said counterfeit certificates of origin and quality for the oil were modified or created by the designated companies before shipments were transferred for sale abroad, including exports to Asia buyers that took place since late 2021.
The sanctions order asset freezes in the U.S. for dozens of individuals, companies and tankers while prohibiting Americans from dealing with the designated entities.
The illegal regime of the so-called U.S. secondary sanctions also urges non-Americans to avoid engaging in certain transactions with sanctioned people as this could risk them being hit with sanctions