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 Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More