On December 12, the U.S. Treasury and State Department targeted 17 companies and individuals for evading international sanctions on Iran or supporting its nuclear program. Four companies and one person allegedly violated oil sanctions. The other twelve companies and individuals operated front companies supporting the nuclear program. “Today’s actions should be a stark reminder to businesses, banks and brokers everywhere that we will continue relentlessly to enforce our sanctions, even as we explore the possibility of a long-term, comprehensive resolution of our concerns with Iran’s nuclear program,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. He clarified that the Geneva nuclear agreement does not impact current U.S. sanctions. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and lead Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman reiterated that point in a Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing. The following are excerpts from her opening remarks and the State Department press release on sanctions.
Designations Related to Sanctions Evasion
A central part of the United States’ strategy in enforcing sanctions against Iran is a sustained effort to target those who deceptively engage in transactions on behalf of Iran or other sanctioned entities. These actors take advantage of unwitting foreign businesses by concealing the true beneficiaries of their activities and have become a key part of Iran’s international sanctions evasion efforts. Treasury possesses a number of far-reaching authorities to counter and disrupt these actors, including various Executive Orders (E.O.s) that target those who provide support to the Government of Iran or previously sanctioned entities or those who engage in deception to assist the Government of Iran or others to circumvent sanctions.
Today’s actions target several companies and individuals who engaged in transactions on behalf of previously-designated National Iranian Tanker Company, Iran’s primary shipper of crude oil, and previously identified KASB International, and also target the General Manager of Ferland Company Limited, which was identified earlier this year as a sanctions evader. They also identify a number of NITC vessels that have changed their flagging jurisdiction or names.
Mid Oil Asia
Mid Oil Asia was designated today pursuant to E.O. 13645 for providing material support to the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC). E.O. 13645 broadens existing sanctions with respect to Iran, including imposing sanctions on persons that materially assist certain other persons whose property and interests in property are already blocked. NITC was identified as part of the Government of Iran in July 2012. Singapore-based Mid Oil Asia is used by NITC to make NITC’s urgent payments in violation of international sanctions. For example, Mid Oil Asia was used by NITC to transfer funds to an Egypt-based company and to ensure the payment documents did not mention the name of the vessels or Iran, the country which owned them.
Singapore-based Singa Tankers was designated today pursuant to E.O. 13645 for providing material support to NITC. Singa Tankers is also used by NITC to make urgent payments. For instance, NITC provided funds to Singa Tankers for a tanker transport-related expense in September 2013. Separately, Singa Tankers transferred funds to a non-Iranian foreign bank on behalf of NITC. Care was taken so that transfer details were not mentioned, specifically the name of the vessel or the Iranian nationality of the vessel’s owners.
Siqiriya Maritime Corporation was designated today pursuant to E.O. 13645 for providing material support to NITC. The following vessels have been identified as property in which Siqiriya Maritime Corporation has an interest: Anthem, Jaffna, and Olysa.
Ferland Company Limited
Ferland Company Limited was designated today pursuant to E.O. 13645 for providing material support to NITC. Representatives from Ferland Company Limited and NITC were involved in the ship-to-ship transfer of Iranian crude oil in March 2013. Ferland Company Limited facilitated deceptive transactions for or on behalf of NITC. Treasury previously imposed sanctions on Ferland Company Limited pursuant to E.O. 13608, which targets foreign sanctions evaders, for facilitating deceptive transactions for or on behalf of NITC. The Department of State also imposed sanctions on Ferland Company Limited pursuant to the Iran Sanctions Act, as amended.
Vitaly Sokolenko, the General Manager of Ferland Company Limited, who is based in Odessa, Ukraine, and involved in brokering the sale of Iranian crude oil, was designated today pursuant to E.O. 13645 for providing material support to NITC and was targeted for sanctions under E.O. 13608 for acting for or on behalf of Ferland Company Limited.
Designations Related to Front Companies, Officials or Agents of Designated Nuclear and Weapons Proliferation Companies
Pursuant to E.O. 13382, the United States has imposed a series of targeted, conduct-based sanctions on individuals, firms, and financial institutions involved in or linked to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. This sustained sanctions effort has both disrupted the progress of Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile program and imposed significant pressure on the Iranian government.
The Department of State today targeted five Iranian entities directly engaged in providing the Iranian government goods, technology, and services that materially contribute to or pose a risk of materially contributing to Iran's ability to enrich uranium, construct a heavy water-moderated research reactor, and develop its ballistic missile capabilities, all of which are prohibited by United Nations Security Council Resolutions. These designations represent State’s continuing effort to target for sanctions private Iranian entities contributing to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Eyvaz Technic Manufacturing Company
Eyvaz Technic Manufacturing Company (Eyvaz) is an Iranian entity involved in the procurement of sensitive items for use in Iran’s centrifuge program. Since at least 2008, Eyvaz has procured components useful in centrifuge cascades, specifically expansion joints, for Kalaye Electric Company (KEC), an Iranian entity designated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737 for its work on Iran’s proscribed uranium enrichment program. Eyvaz has procured other components useful in centrifuge cascades, including valve bellows and vacuum pumps, also for KEC, and for other entities involved in the Iranian nuclear program.
The Exploration and Nuclear Raw Materials Production Company
The Exploration and Nuclear Raw Materials Production Company (EMKA) is a subsidiary organization of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). EMKA oversees uranium discovery, mining, and mineral processing operations in Iran. EMKA provided support and funding for continued mining operations for uranium ore at the Gachin mine as recently as November 2012. As of July 2013, EMKA was using a front company to procure items intended for the AEOI.
Maro Sanat Company
Since 2011, the Iranian firm Maro Sanat Company (Maro Sanat) has worked for Iran’s Nuclear Reactors Fuel Company (SUREH) to acquire necessary items for the organization’s facilities. SUREH is responsible for Iran’s Uranium Conversion Facility, the Fuel Manufacturing Plant, and the Zirconium Production Plant. SUREH contracted with Maro Sanat to acquire large amounts of zirconium silicate, which Iran could use as feedstock to produce nuclear-grade zirconium for IR-40 fuel cladding and other internal components, and non-nuclear-grade zirconium that could contribute to Iran’s missile program as solid rocket propellant. Maro Sanat’s efforts to acquire large amounts of zirconium silicate could make a major contribution to Iran’s ability to advance construction of its IR-40 reactor. Maro Sanat also worked for SUREH to acquire anhydrous hydrofluoric acid (AHF), which is used to form one of the precursors needed to create uranium hexafluoride (UF6), used at Iran’s Uranium Conversion Facility.
Navid Composite Material Company
Navid Composite Material Company (Navid Composite) is an Iran-based subsidiary of U.S.- and UN-designated Sanam Industrial Group, which was designated for its involvement in Iran’s ballistic missile program. Navid Composite is currently building a carbon fiber production plant in Iran. Since at least 2012, Navid Composite has contracted with Asia-based entities to procure a carbon fiber production line capable of producing 150 tons per year of carbon fiber probably suitable for use in ballistic missile components.
Negin Parto Khavar
Negin Parto Khavar (Negin Parto) is a key participant in a nuclear procurement network that brokers items for Iran’s proscribed nuclear program, including for UN-designated entities such as the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Modern Industrial Technique Company (MITEC), and Kalaye Electric Company (KEC), all of which have also been designated by the United States pursuant to E.O. 13382. Negin Parto also has procured items for Iran’s Nuclear Reactors Fuel Company (SUREH), which was designated by the United States pursuant to E.O. 13382 on November 11, 2011. Since at least mid-2009, Negin Parto has brokered or attempted to broker several deals to provide sensitive components for Iran’s 40-megawatt heavy water research reactor (the IR-40) at Arak, Iran, often using false end-user statements to deceive manufacturers and to obscure Iranian involvement in the transactions.
Continuing the effort to target Iran’s nuclear proliferation activities, Treasury today targeted a network of proliferators headed by Iran’s Ministry of Defense for Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), which oversees Iran’s ballistic missile program. MODAFL was designated by the United States pursuant to E.O. 13382 in 2007, and has brokered a number of transactions involving materials and technologies with ballistic missile applications. Treasury also designated officials from and aliases for the Iranian nuclear procurement firm Neka Novin. Neka Novin was designated in November 2011 for its involvement in the procurement of specialized equipment and materials that have direct application to Iran’s nuclear program.
Neka Novin Officials Iradj Mohammadi Kahvarin and Mahmoud Mohammadi Dayeni
Iradj Mohammadi Kahvarin and Mahmoud Mohammadi Dayeni are key officials working for Neka Novin. Iradj Mohammadi Kahvarin holds the roles of Managing Director, Project Manager, and Sales and Marketing Manager for Neka Novin. He participated in negotiations related to the procurement of automation equipment for Iran’s nuclear program in 2009. Mahmoud Mohammadi Dayeni is the Chief Executive Officer of Neka Novin and also holds the titles of Managing Director and Project Manager of Neka Novin.
Neka Novin Aliases
Neka Novin has used the names Kia Nirou, Block Nirou Sun Co., BNSA Co., and Neku Nirou Tavan Co. when procuring equipment from foreign suppliers.
Qods Aviation Industries
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) operates Qods Aviation Industries and uses it to fund projects. MODAFL contracts with Qods Aviation Industries for aviation and air defense projects. Qods Aviation is involved in the production of UAVs, parachutes, paragliders, and para-motors, which the IRGC has claimed to use as part of its asymmetric warfare doctrine.
In addition, Qods Aviation Industries has also been identified as an IRGC entity in an annex to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1747 of March 24, 2007. It was also listed by the European Union on March 23, 2012 as an entity linked to Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or Iran’s development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.
Iran Aviation Industries Organization
Iran Aviation Industries Organization is part of the Iranian Ministry of Defense and is responsible for managing Iran’s military aviation industry. Among other things, it is involved in developing long range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It has also been sanctioned by the European Union as an entity linked to Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or Iran’s development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.
Reza Amidi, Fan Pardazan, and Ertebat Gostar Novin
Reza Amidi, who was a commercial manager of Qods Aviation Industries, has been tied to procurement work undertaken by Fan Pardazan. Fan Pardazan is a Qods Aviation Industries cover company. Reza Amidi is also tied to Ertebat Gostar Novin, a suspected Qods Aviation front company involved in procurement activities.
Updated Information About Previously Identified Persons
KASB International Update – First Furat Trading LLC
KASB International LLC is a UAE-based company previously identified on September 6, 2013 pursuant to E.O. 13599 – which targets the Iranian government’s property and its financial institutions – as part of the Seyed Seyyedi network of front companies used to evade sanctions. The company is now known as First Furat Trading LLC. Additionally, KASB International LLC’s address and phone number have been updated.
Seifollah Jashnsaz Update
The biographical and passport information of Seifollah Jashnsaz, Managing Director of the Switzerland-based Naftiran Intertrade Company and of numerous Iranian front companies involved in evading international sanctions on Iranian oil, have been updated, including to note his role as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the previously-identified Iranian Oil Company U.K.
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Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and lead Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman
Moreover, the U.S. trade embargo remains in place and U.N. Security Council’s sanctions remain in place. All sanctions related to Iran’smilitary program, state sponsorship of terrorism, and human rights abuses and censorship remain in place. Our vigilance will continue.
What is also important to understand is that we remain in control. If Iran fails to live up to its commitments as agreed to in Geneva, we would be prepared to work with Congress to ramp up sanctions. In that situation, we would be well-positioned to maximize the impact of any new sanctions because we would likely have the support of the international community, which is essential for any increased pressure to work.
In comparison, moving forward on new sanctions now would derail the promising and yet-to-be-tested first step outlined above, alienate us from our allies, and risk unraveling the international cohesion that has proven so essential to ensuring our sanctions have the intended effect.
Click here for Sherman's opening remarks.
On December 12, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen outlined Iran’s relief package from the Geneva nuclear deal. Tehran committed to roll back its nuclear program and allow increased monitoring “in exchange for limited, temporary, and reversible relief,” he told the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Cohen also assured the members that Washington will vigorously enforce existing sanctions and keep the core banking, financial and oil sanctions in place. The following are excerpts from Cohen’s testimony at the Senate hearing on the interim agreement.
Click here for the full testimony.
On December 11, the Gulf Cooperation Council issued a communique welcoming Tehran’s new efforts to engage with member states. The group -- which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- discussed regional developments at a two-day summit in Kuwait. The following are excerpts from the communique on Iran.
Photo credits: President Rouhani via President.ir, Manmohan Singh by World Economic Forum [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons, Bushehr nuclear power plant via NuclearEnergy.ir, Moulana Shahwar by Moulanashahwar (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The following article first appeared in Time magazine.
This article is reposted from Time magazine.
Robin Wright has traveled to Iran dozens of times since 1973. She has covered several elections, including the 2009 presidential vote. She is the author of several books on Iran, including "The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and transformation in Iran" and "The Iran Primer: Power, Politics and US Policy." She is a joint scholar at USIP and the Woodrow Wilson Center.