The U.S. Treasury blacklisted 25 people and organizations, including a clutch of front companies based in the three countries, that were working on behalf of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s defense ministry to raise money for their activities.
The targeted institutions include banks and other financial institutions such as Ansar Bank, Atlas Exchange, Iranian Atlas Company, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement.
“We are exposing an extensive sanctions evasion network that was established by the Iranian regime to evade American sanctions,” Brian Hook, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, told reporters. “With this action today we are increasing our pressure even further on the Iranian regime.”
Hook described Ansar as “the banker” of the Revolutionary Guards and its overseas operations run by Quds Force. He said the bank paid the salaries of IRGC-Quds Force employees and Iranian foreign fighters in Syria.
“They created front companies to access the U.S. financial system on their own,” said Hook, adding that Tehran was feeling the pressure from U.S. sanctions and created the network to look for a way around the restrictions.
He said the Ansar front companies had raised $800 million over the last year and a half to buy military vehicles and to fund the IRGC’s and Quds Force operations.
Additionally, Hook said the United States was sanctioning Iran’s defense ministry “for its support for terrorism” and providing logistics support to the Revolutionary Guards.
Read more: Reuters
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