News / Middle East

    US Blacklists Firms for Evading Iran Oil Sale Sanctions

    Reuters
    The United States has blacklisted two companies it says helped Iran evade sanctions on oil sales and slapped penalties on four Tehran-based firms it says helped the Islamic Republic enrich uranium, the latest efforts to pressure Iran's nuclear program.
     
    “As long as Iran tries to evade our sanctions, we will continue to expose their deceptive maneuvers,'' David Cohen, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department said in a news release.
     
    The Treasury Department said on Thursday it blacklisted Sambouk Shipping FZC, a United Arab Emirates based company it says is tied to Dimitris Cambis, a Greek businessman the department recently sanctioned.
     
    The Treasury imposed sanctions on Cambis in March, saying he secretly operated a shipping network on behalf of Tehran to evade sanctions on Iran's oil sales.
     
    On Thursday the department said Cambis used the recently formed Sambouk Shipping to manage eight vessels he operates on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company. The ships have been used to execute ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian oil in the Persian Gulf intended to obscure the origin of the oil, it said.
     
    Under the sanctions, U.S. citizens are prohibited from doing business with Cambis and the shipping companies and any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction may be frozen.
     
    Cambis has previously denied trading for Iran or the involvement of his tankers in loading Iranian oil. He could not be immediately reached on Thursday.
     
    Sanctions introduced by the West last year aim to choke funding of Iran's nuclear program by targeting its oil exports. The sanctions halved Iran's oil exports last year, by more than 1 million barrels per day.
     
    The United States and the European Union say Iran is developing the ability to make nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge, saying its nuclear program is strictly for power generation and medical purposes.
     
    The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on the Iranian Venezuelan Bi-National Bank, saying it provided financial services to a branch of Iran's military and helped obscure oil deals. The department said the institution was originally established as a joint venture between Iran and Venezuela, but there is no evidence that Venezuela is still tied to the Tehran-based bank.
     
    In addition, the U.S. State Department sanctioned four Tehran-based companies and one Iranian citizen it says helped procure equipment for the nuclear program. The companies are called Aluminat, Pars Amayesh Sanaat Kish and Pishro Systems Research Company.
     
    Parviz Khaki, the individual cited, has procured goods for Iran's nuclear program that can be used to build, operate and maintain gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, the State Department said.
     
    “We urge financial institutions to act in a manner that preserves their access to the U.S. financial system by cutting financial ties to these companies and individual,'' said Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy spokesman at the State Department.
     
    The Tehran-based companies and Khaki could not immediately be reached for comment.
     
    U.S. lawmakers aim to broaden sanctions ahead of elections in Iran next month. A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation on Wednesday that would block Iran's access to its foreign currency reserves held around the world, estimated to be worth $60 billion to $100 billion.
     
    Critics of the tightening of Western sanctions say the penalties will not slow the nuclear program, as the damage they wreak to Iran's economy pushes its leaders to continue funding the program in defiance of the West.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora