United States officials offered 'several million dollars' for Iranian tanker

Cheryl Sanders
September 5, 2019

The blacklisted group of firms, ships and individuals stands accused by the US Treasury of breaching US sanctions by supplying Syria with oil worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

So far, the USA has not said directly whether it would issue the waivers France would need to issue the credit lines to Tehran.

United States government mentioned that Kumar, 43, took over as captain in Gibraltar.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Wednesday against an oil transport network it says is associated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).

He manages a group of individuals, shipping and oil companies and vessels to sell Iranian crude, condensates and gas oil, relying on IRGC-QF officials and associates, including his son Morteza Qasemi, to run the network, the Treasury said.

The department said the Qods Force and Hezbollah profited financially by supplying Iranian oil and petroleum products, mostly to Syria.

Washington has undertaken aggressive actions against Iran over the past two weeks, targeting networks tied to Iran's missile programme, oil tankers and a Lebanese bank it accuses of having ties to Tehran.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in announcing the designation Wednesday that any companies or individuals conducting transactions with the shipping network could be exposed to punishing USA financial measures.

USA officials said the Quds Force used the network to hide its involvement in oil sales to Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and other unnamed "illicit actors" and relied heavily on Hezbollah officials and front companies to broker the contracts.

"We have conducted extensive outreach to several ship captains as well as shipping companies warning them of the consequences of providing support to a foreign terrorist organization", a State Department official told VOA.

Also targeted are subsidiaries of an Indian firm with an interest in the Adrian Darya 1, the Iranian tanker the authorities in Gibraltar detained in July on suspicion it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

According to FT, the United States will offer rewards of up to $15 million "for information that helps the U.S. disrupt Iranian illicit activities".

The Adrian Darya 1 has been elusive since sailing off from Gibraltar, with monitors reporting that it has been moving in the eastern Mediterranean near Lebanon.

Hassan Rouhani, Iran's president yesterday ruled out holding any bilateral talks with the USA and threatened to further cut his commitments to a nuclear deal within days.

"Iran knows that the success of our pressure campaign depends on vigorous enforcement of oil sanctions", Hook mentioned.

Many experts and US allies have suggested that Washington should signal some flexibility in its enforcement of sanctions to entice the Iranians to negotiate.

"That money is then used to fund terrorism", Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said in a press briefing Wednesday.

"We can't make it any more clear that we are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure and we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers", Hook said.

Other reports by iNewsToday