On August 13, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned an oil smuggling network for supporting the Qods Force, the external operations branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Qods Force “has been using revenue from Iranian petroleum sales to fund its malign activities,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. An Omani oil broker used several companies, including one based in Romania and one registered in Liberia, to sell Iranian oil abroad. The Qods Force was sanctioned in 2007 for supporting terrorist groups across the Middle East. The following is Blinken’s statement followed by the Treasury’s press release.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken
The United States is imposing sanctions on members of an international oil smuggling network, the leaders of which have provided support for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). This action targets an oil broker from Oman who, in partnership with senior IRGC-QF officials, has used several companies to facilitate shipments of Iranian oil to foreign customers. Two of these companies are based in Oman and one is registered in Liberia. The broker also controls a company in Romania. The broker and those companies are being sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order 13224.
The IRGC-QF has been using revenue from Iranian petroleum sales to fund its malign activities. These sales depend on foreign intermediaries to obscure the IRGC-QF’s involvement. The United State will continue to expose and disrupt those supporting such efforts.
Department of the Treasury
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating individuals and businesses involved in an international oil smuggling network that supports Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). Senior IRGC-QF officials use proceeds from their involvement in Iranian oil exports to help fund the group’s destabilizing regional activities. OFAC’s action targets a foreign broker, Mahmood Rashid Amur Al Habsi, who has partnered with senior IRGC-QF officials and used several companies to facilitate shipments of Iranian oil to foreign customers, including buyers in East Asia.
“The IRGC-QF is using revenues from its Iranian petroleum sales to fund its malign activities at the expense of the Iranian people,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. “These sales rely on key foreign intermediaries to obscure the IRGC-QF’s involvement, and Treasury will continue to disrupt and expose anyone supporting these efforts.”
Today’s action is being taken pursuant to the counterterrorism authority, Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. The IRGC-QF was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 in 2007 for support to numerous terrorist groups.
Mahmood Rashid Amur Al Habsi
Omani national Al Habsi has facilitated the sale and shipment of Iranian oil through his companies to obscure the IRGC-QF’s involvement. Al Habsi’s companies have transported shipments worth tens of millions of dollars. Al Habsi has worked in partnership with senior IRGC-QF officials, including Rostam Ghasemi, who was previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 in 2019 for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC-QF, and has managed a vast network of individuals, shipping and oil companies, and vessels to sell Iranian petroleum products for the group’s benefit. As part of his oversight of shipping operations, Al Habsi has tampered with the automated identification systems that are onboard vessels, forged shipping documents, and paid bribes, circumventing restrictions related to Iran.
Al Habsi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF.
Al Habsi Business Network
Al Habsi used his Oman-based company, Nimr International L.L.C., to facilitate the sale and shipment of Iranian oil in support of the IRGC-QF. Nimr International L.L.C. is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, Al Habsi.
Al Habsi also used Oman-based Orbit Petrochemicals Trading LLC to facilitate Iranian oil deals that obscure the IRGC-QF’s involvement. Orbit Petrochemicals Trading LLC is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, Nimr International L.L.C.
Bravery Maritime Corporation, a Liberian-registered company, is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, Al Habsi. The Liberian-flagged crude oil tanker Oman Pride, which has been used to transport Iranian oil, is being identified as property in which Bravery Maritime Corporation has an interest.
Romania-based Nimr International S.R.L. is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, Al Habsi.
As a result of today’s designations, all property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction of the persons designated are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the designated persons or their blocked property. In addition, foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to, the persons designated today risk exposure to sanctions that could sever their access to the U.S. financial system or block their property or interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction.