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U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Iran

Five Iranian companies added to U.S. financial blacklist as more sanctions are imposed on the Islamic Republic.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/22/2010, 2:17 AM / Last Update: 12/22/2010, 2:14 AM

The United States announced on Tuesday that it will be expanding the sanctions already imposed on Iran over its nuclear and missile programs.

As part of the sanctions, the Treasury Department added five Iranian companies to its financial blacklist, including two banks, an insurance company, a freight forwarder and the state-owned shipper. The sanctions bar the firms, which are linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, from the U.S. financial system. Any assets the firms may have in U.S. jurisdictions will be frozen.

Among the firms targeted by the sanctions is the Moallem Insurance Company for providing marine insurance to Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) vessels and the Ansar Bank and Mehr Bank for providing financial services to the Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Also affected is Bonyad Taavon Sepah and its executive director, Parviz Fattah. Bonyad Taavon Sepah is a quasi-governmental financial services firm that handles investments for the Revolutionary Guard.

The Pars Oil and Gas Company, which is responsible for tapping some of the world's largest gas fields, was also hit with sanctions after the Treasury Department indentified the company as being owned or controlled by the Iranian government.

Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey was quoted as saying about the new sanctions: “Both the IRGC and IRISL are major institutional participants in Iran's illicit conduct and in its attempts to evade sanctions. We will therefore continue to target and expose their networks.”

Tuesday’s sanctions follow an earlier round of sanctions approved by the U.S. last June and which penalize companies that sell gasoline to Iran or that do business with the Revolutionary Guard Corp.

The UN also imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic last summer, banning Iran's purchasing of heavy weapons such as attack helicopters and missiles as well as toughening rules on financial transactions with Iran's banks.

Other world powers which have imposed sanctions on Iran include the European Union, Canada, and Australia, who in July imposed travel and financial bans against more than 110 businesses and individuals in Iran's financial and transportation sectors, and also imposed a ban on business dealings involving nuclear or missile technology, uranium mining and trade in all arms and related material, including anything that might be used for nuclear, missile, chemical and biological weapons development.