The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury has designated a shipping network that has supported the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods force (IRGC-QF) in its efforts to move millions of dollars to Hizballah, the Assad regime in Syria, and others. The designations, pursuant to Executive Order 13224, name 10 individuals and 16 entities. In conjunction with these designations, OFAC has identified 11 vessels as property in which blocked persons have an interest. Among those designated are Rostam Qasemi, formerly the Iranian Minister of Petroleum and previously designated pursuant to Executive Order 13382; Ali Qasir, a Lebanese national responsible for negotiating prices for Iranian oil products and assigning vessels to conduct the shipments; the Mehdi Group and its director, Ali Zaheer Mehdi, for crewing and managing seven of the vessels used by the network; Vaniya Ship Management Private Limited, for being owned or controlled by the Mehdi Group; Mohammadreza Ali Akbari, for acting on behalf of IRGC-QF official Rostam Qasemi and helping the IRGC-QF evade sanctions, and; an Iranian insurance company, the Kish P&I Club, for providing support for the Mehdi Group.
OFAC also issued a new shipping advisory to warn of the types of schemes used by supporters of IRGC-QF to conceal the sale of millions of barrels of Iranian crude oil, gas oil and condensate. According to OFAC, the network supporting the IRGC-QF used over a dozen ships to transport these products, sometimes trying to pass attribute Iraqi origin to the Iranian cargo. In announcing the designations, the US Department of Treasury urged international companies to ensure that they are conducting the necessary due diligence to avoid engaging in sanctionable activity with entities that support the Iranian regime.
As a result of these designations, all US property of the designated entities and individuals is blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with the property of blocked or designated persons.