On December 14, 2023, the United States and the United Kingdom announced joint action against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (“IRGC-QF”), Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (“PIJ”). The UK designated eight individuals and one entity, including the head of the IRGC-QF Esmail Qaani, under the Iran (Sanctions) Regulations 2023, a new regime designed to address threats by Iran, including plots to kill individuals on UK soil, and actions that undermine peace and security across the Middle East. The new regime also includes trade restrictions targeting Iran’s drone program. It provides UK authorities with new powers to impose transport sanctions on ships that circumvent sanctions or are owned or controlled by designated individuals. In the first sanctions package issued under the new regime, the United Kingdom targeted Iran’s decision makers who recently supported actions or conduct aimed at destabilizing Israel. Among the new designees are IRGC-QF Palestine Branch and Mohammed Saeed Izadi, the head of the IRGC-QF Palestine Branch. Under the new regime, all designees are subject to travel bans and asset freezes in the United Kingdom.
In coordination with UK authorities, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated one individual — the other UK designees having been previously designated in the US. OFAC designated Majid Zaree, an IRGC-QF official involved in supporting Hamas and Hizballah, pursuant to the US counterterrorism authority in Executive Order 13224, as amended. As a result of this designation, all property and interests in property of the designated individual within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated person. Entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.