Ara­bian Gulf states and US hit 25 fun­ders of Iran and Hezbol­lah with sanc­tions for back­ing ter­ror­ists

The National - News - - NEWS -

The seven-coun­try Ter­ror­ist Fi­nanc­ing Tar­get­ing Cen­tre in Riyadh sanc­tioned 25 tar­gets linked to Iran and Hezbol­lah in the largest sin­gle des­ig­na­tion to date.

The UAE, Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the US sin­gled out busi­nesses and peo­ple tied to “the Ira­nian regime’s ter­ror-sup­port net­works in the re­gion”.

Those sanc­tioned on Wed­nes­day sup­port Iran’s Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps and Tehran’s re­gional proxy, Hezbol­lah.

The US Trea­sury said that sev­eral of the busi­nesses pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to the Basij Re­sis­tance Force, which it de­scribed as “a para­mil­i­tary force sub­or­di­nate to the IRGC that have long been used as shock troops by the regime to op­press do­mes­tic op­po­si­tion with dis­plays of vi­o­lence, while re­cruit­ing, train­ing and de­ploy­ing fight­ers to fight in IRGC-fu­elled con­flicts across the re­gion”.

US Sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury Steven Mnuchin said the sanc­tions were “a pow­er­ful demon­stra­tion of Gulf unity”.

“This ac­tion demon­strates the uni­fied po­si­tion of the Gulf na­tions and the United States that Iran will not be al­lowed to es­ca­late its ma­lign ac­tiv­ity in the re­gion,” he said. “We are proud to join forces with our TFTC part­ners to ex­pose and con­demn the Ira­nian regime’s gross and re­peated vi­o­la­tions of in­ter­na­tional norms, from at­tack­ing crit­i­cal oil in­fra­struc­ture in Saudi Ara­bia to fo­ment­ing strife in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries through re­gional prox­ies such as Hezbol­lah.”

“This co-or­di­nated ac­tion is a con­crete step to­wards deny­ing the Ira­nian regime the abil­ity to un­der­mine the sta­bil­ity of the re­gion.”

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike

Pom­peo wel­comed the TFTC’s move to reim­pose ad­di­tional coun­ter­mea­sures on Iran over its “fail­ure to up­hold in­ter­na­tional anti-money laun­der­ing and coun­ter­ing the fi­nanc­ing of ter­ror­ism stan­dards”.

“Iran de­lib­er­ately en­sures there is no trans­parency in its econ­omy so it can con­tinue to ex­port ter­ror­ism,” Mr Pom­peo said. “The Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps con­tin­ues to en­gage in large-scale, il­licit, fi­nanc­ing schemes to fund its ma­lign ac­tiv­i­ties.”

He said that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity had made it clear that Iran must live up to its com­mit­ments to be­have “like a nor­mal na­tion”.

Mr Pom­peo also said the US sup­ported the de­ci­sion by the Fi­nan­cial Ac­tion Task Force – an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal body set up in 1989 to com­bat money laun­der­ing and the fi­nanc­ing of ter­ror­ism – to pro­tect the in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

He called on FATF mem­bers to hold Iran ac­count­able for its “se­ri­ous and con­tin­u­ing acts of ter­ror­ism and ter­ror­ism fi­nance”.

Twenty-one of the 25 en­ti­ties tar­geted by the US and Gulf sanc­tions fund the Basij.

The US Trea­sury said they used a net­work of shell com­pa­nies and other mea­sures to mask their con­trol of “multi­bil­lion-dol­lar

busi­ness in­ter­ests in Iran’s au­to­mo­tive, min­ing, met­als and bank­ing in­dus­tries, many of which have sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­na­tional deal­ings across the Mid­dle East and Europe”.

The en­ti­ties were pre­vi­ously des­ig­nated as global ter­ror­ists by Wash­ing­ton’s Of­fice of Fi­nan­cial As­set Con­trol on Oc­to­ber 16, last year.

The Ter­ror­ist Fi­nanc­ing Tar­get­ing Cen­tre in Riyadh was set up in 2017 to bring to­gether re­gional coun­tries to stop the fund­ing of mil­i­tants and prox­ies.

Four of the des­ig­nates were Hezbol­lah-af­fil­i­ated in­di­vid­u­als who lead and co-or­di­nate the group’s op­er­a­tional, in­tel­li­gence and fi­nan­cial ac­tiv­i­ties in Iraq, the US Trea­sury said.

The move “high­lights the de­gree to which Hezbol­lah op­er­ates as a clan­des­tine, ter­ror­ist arm of the Ira­nian regime by smug­gling oil for Iran, rais­ing funds for Hezbol­lah, and send­ing fight­ers to Syria for the IRGC-Quds Force on be­half of Qassem Suleimani [the IRGCQuds force head]”.

The men were Shibl Muhsin Ubayd Al Zaydi, Yusuf Hashim, Ad­nan Hus­sein Kawtha­rani and Muham­mad Abd Al Hadi Farhat. Ofac pre­vi­ously des­ig­nated them as global ter­ror­ists on Novem­ber 13, last year.

Iran’s lead­ers, in­clud­ing Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, above, are ac­cused of fail­ing to heed anti-money laun­der­ing and counter-ter­ror­ism rules

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.