Iran’s Transport Minister, IRGC Lackeys and Three Turkish Terrorists Newly Sanctioned for Oil Smuggling

Iran’s current transport minister and an officer in the Revolutionary Guards’ expeditionary Quds Force, together with a cluster of their contacts and companies around the world, newly sanctioned by the Biden administration on Wednesday for leading “an international oil smuggling and money laundering network”.

The operation was sed to have seen millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian oil covertly sold to raise money for the IRGC and Hezbollah.

Current official Behnam Shahriari and ex-IRGC brigadier general Rostam Ghasemi, who is now Minister of Roads and Urban Development in Ebrahim Raisi’s cabinet, were said by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to have run the network as “a critical element of Iran’s oil revenue generation, as well as its support for proxy militant groups.”

The Russian Connection

OFAC also said the network had been “backed by senior levels of the Russian Federation government” and sold oil to both the Russian and Venezuelan state oil companies.

From April 21, Ghasemi is alleged to have been using a Russia-based company, RPP LLC, to transfer millions of dollars on behalf of the Quds Force from Russia. Transport Minister

RPP LLC was formerly managed by a Russia-based Afghan businessman, Kamaluddin Gulam Nabizada, who also happens to be the former Afghan charge d’affaires in Moscow.

Nabizada was previously linked to a corrupt scheme to defraud Kabul Bank to the tune of $800m. Apart from the financial loss, OFAC asserted, the incident led to “the widespread loss of confidence in the Afghan banking sector”.

The current manager of RPP LLC is a man by the name of Mihrab Subrab Hamidi. OFAC asserts some of the oil sales with his name on the books were ultimately overseen by Rostam Ghasemi.

Separately, the UAE-based firm Zamanoil DMCC, whose ownership structure is currently unknown, was reported to have worked with the Russian government and the Russian state-owned Rosneft to ship large quantities of Iranian oil to companies in Europe on behalf of the Quds Force.

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