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 On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs