United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

U.S. Sanctions Iran for Heroin Trafficking

On March 7, the Treasury Department designated Iranian Qods Force General overseeing Afghan Heroin trafficking through Iran. The following is the Treasury Department’s statement.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) General Gholamreza Baghbani as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). This is the first use of the Kingpin Act against an Iranian official.
“Today’s action exposes IRGC-QF involvement in trafficking narcotics, made doubly reprehensible here because it is done as part of a broader scheme to support terrorism. Treasury will continue exposing narcotics traffickers and terrorist supporters wherever they operate,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.
 
General Gholamreza Baghbani is an IRGC-QF officer and the current chief of the IRGC-QF office in Zahedan, Iran in southeastern Iran, near the Afghan border. General Baghbani allowed Afghan narcotics traffickers to smuggle opiates through Iran in return for assistance. For example, Afghan narcotics traffickers moved weapons to the Taliban on behalf of Baghbani. In return, General Baghbani has helped facilitate the smuggling of heroin precursor chemicals through the Iranian border. He also helped facilitate shipments of opium into Iran.
 
As a result of today's action, U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with General Baghbani, and any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.
 
The Treasury Department continues to target the financial networks of significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide using the authorities in the Kingpin Act.  Treasury has designated more than 1,000 individuals and entities linked to drug kingpins since June 2000.  Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties.  Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million.  Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million.  Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.
 
To view a chart of General Baghbani’s activities, please click here.
 
 

Connect With Us

Our Partners

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Logo