US expands sanctions on Iran

Washington, March 29: The US Wednesday expanded its sanctions against Iran to cover the shipping industry associated with the country’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The Treasury Department said that Iran Maritime Industrial Company (SADRA), with offices in Iran and Venezuela, is targeted for being owned by Khatam al-Anbiya, an engineering company used by the IRGC to fund its operations.

The Deep Offshore Technology PJS was blacklisted as a subsidiary wholly-owned by SADRA. The Treasury said that any foreign financial institution knowingly doing business with the two firms faces potential loss of its correspondent account access to the US.

The Modality Limited and Malship Shipping Agency Ltd., based in Malta, were put under sanctions as they are affiliates of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

Seyed Alaeddin Sadat Rasool and Ali Ezati, two IRISL officials, were also listed for sanctions, Xinhua reported quoting a statement from the Treasury Department.

The IRGC is a primary target of sanctions by the US and other countries, as Washington points to the central role it plays in Iran’s missile and nuclear programmes, as well as its support for terrorism and its involvement in “serious” human rights abuses in Iran.

“The IRGC has continued to expand its control over the Iranian economy, in particular in the defence production, construction, and oil and gas industries,” the Treasury said.

The IRISL is accused of playing a key role in Iran’s efforts to advance its missile programmes and transport other military cargoes.

IANS