WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned three entities and one individual located in Lebanon and Türkiye for providing critical financial support to an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and Hizballah financial network. These entities have generated hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of revenue from selling Iranian commodities, including to the Syrian government. These commodity sales provide a key source of funding for the IRGC-QF and Hizballah’s continued terrorist activities and support to other terrorist organizations throughout the region.
“Today’s action underscores our resolve to prevent the IRGC-QF and its proxy terrorist groups from exploiting the international trading system to fund their destabilizing activities,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States will continue to take action to expose and disrupt these illicit schemes.”
HIZBALLAH AND IRGC-QF FINANCIAL FRONTS
Türkiye-based Mira Ihracat Ithalat Petrol (Mira) purchases, transports, and sells Iranian commodities on the global market. Mira’s activities are overseen by Iran-based, U.S.-designated Hizballah finance facilitator Ali Qasir, and the profits from Mira’s sales are ultimately shared with Hizballah. U.S.-designated Hizballah finance financial officials Muhammad Qasir and Muhammad Amir Alchwiki (Alchwiki) have used Mira to conduct commercial activity. Ibrahim Talal al-Uwayr (al-Uwayr) is the CEO and owner of Mira under the alias Ibrahim Agaoglu and works with Muhammad Qasir and Alchwiki to direct Mira’s trading activities.
Mira Ihracat Ithalat Petrol 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, Hizballah.
Ibrahim Talal al-Uwayr is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for owning or controlling, directly or indirectly, Mira.
Ali Qasir was previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, in September 2019 and September 2021, respectively, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, former IRGC-QF official Rostam Ghasemi and Hizballah.
Muhammad Qasir was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 on May 15, 2018, for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah. Alchwiki was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 on November 20, 2018, for assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of Hizballah and IRGC-QF.
Lebanon-based Yara Offshore SAL (Yara) is another Hizballah-affiliated company that has facilitated, using sanctioned vessels, large sales of Iranian commodities to the Syrian regime, for which the Syrian regime has paid millions of dollars to Yara. Yara also conducted transactions on behalf of U.S.-designated Hizballah and IRGC-QF front company Concepto Screen S.A.L., which OFAC previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, on May 25, 2022 because it was used by Muhammad Qasir and U.S.-designated Hizballah illicit finance team official Muhammad Qasim al-Bazzal to facilitate commercial transactions likely benefiting the IRGC-QF and Hizballah.
Yara Offshore SAL 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, Hizballah.
Lebanon-based Hydro Company for Drilling Equipment Rental (Hydro) is involved in financing the IRGC-QF by facilitating the shipment of Iranian commodities worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Syria. Hydro operates under the direction of senior IRGC-QF officers and maintains commercial ties with U.S.-designated Hizballah and IRGC-QF front company Lebanon-based Concepto Screen S.A.L.
Hydro Company for Drilling Equipment Rental 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.
As a result of today’s OFAC action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
In addition, non-U.S. financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.
Official news published at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy2065