On December 3, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned an Iranian firm, Shahid Meisami Group, and its director for chemical weapons research. The group was responsible for projects worth millions of dollars that included testing and producing chemical agents.
The shop was a subsidiary of the Iranian Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), established in 2011 by the prominent nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The United States sanctioned SPND in 2014 for conducting research on weapons of mass destruction. Fakhrizadeh, long suspected by Western and Israeli intelligence of heading Iran’s nuclear weapons program, was assassinated in November 2020.
The following are statements on the new sanctions from the Treasury and State Department.
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Shahid Meisami Group and its director. Shahid Meisami Group is involved in Iran’s chemical weapons research and is subordinate to the Iranian Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, also known as SPND. The United States designated SPND in 2014 in connection with the Iranian regime’s proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or their means of delivery.
“Iran’s development of weapons of mass destruction is a threat to the security of its neighbors and the world,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to counter any efforts by the Iranian regime to develop chemical weapons that may be used by the regime or its proxy groups to advance their malign agenda.”
Treasury’s action is being taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets proliferators of WMD and their supporters. This action supports the United States’ calls on Iran to meet the compliance standards of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Shahid Meisami Group
Shahid Meisami Group is an organization subordinate to SPND and has been responsible for numerous SPND projects, the cost of which totaled in the millions of U.S. dollars. These projects include testing and producing chemical agents and optimizing them for effectiveness and toxicity for use as incapacitation agents. The United States has longstanding concerns that Iran maintains an undeclared chemical weapons program.
Shahid Meisami Group is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, SPND, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13382.
Mehran Babri is the head of Shahid Meisami Group. Prior to his current position at Shahid Meisami Group, Babri worked at Iran’s Defense Chemical Research Lab.
Mehran Babri is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Shahid Meisami Group, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13382.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these targets that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action. Furthermore, unless an exception applies, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for any of the individuals or entities designated today could be subject to U.S. sanctions.
Sanctions on Iranian Entities Involved in Chemical Weapons Activities of Concern
The United States condemns any Iranian regime involvement in a chemical weapons program and will sanction those involved in any such activity. Today, the United States designated Iranian defense entity Shahid Meisami Group and its director, Mehran Babri, under Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or WMD delivery systems, and their supporters.
Shahid Meisami Group was designated for being owned or controlled by the Iranian Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), which was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 in 2014. As a part of SPND, Shahid Meisami Group engaged in activities raising concerns regarding Iran’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, including SPND projects for which it was responsible involving the testing and production of chemical agents for use as so-called incapacitation agents. Mehran Babri was designated today for acting on behalf of Shahid Meisami Group.
In addition to the freezing of any U.S. assets held by Shahid Meisami Group and Mehran Babri, both will be denied access to the U.S. financial system and listed online as WMD proliferators.
The United States is concerned about the regime’s true intent with regard to the testing and production of these so-called chemical incapacitation agents, which could be used either to further oppress Iranian citizens or for offensive purposes. The United States remains firmly committed to countering the full range of the regime’s malign activities and expects the international community to maintain vigilance against the regime’s illicit capabilities and behavior.