A large Iranian-registered shipping network created solely to transport and obfuscate the sale of Iran oil has been targeted with fresh sanctions by the Trump administration.
A reward of $15 million has also been offered to anyone with information that disrupts the network’s operation that, “is directed by and financially supports the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah,” according to a Treasury Department statement.
“Today’s announcement is historic,” Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Brian Hook said during a press briefing Wednesday. “It’s the first time that the United States has offered a reward for information that disrupts a government entity’s financial operations.”
Over the past year, the IRGC-QF has moved oil worth hundreds of millions of dollars or more through this designated network for the benefit of the brutal Assad regime, Hizballah, and other illicit actors. https://t.co/gJoJuoXxU5 pic.twitter.com/3k4pLwTwuo
— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) September 4, 2019
The United States said the IRGC-QF uses its elaborate network to obfuscate its involvement in the illicit activities. The sanctions block all property and interests of those named while prohibiting U.S. citizens from conducting business with them at the risk of also being penalized with sanctions.
“Iran continues to take provocative actions to destabilize the region and the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “Treasury’s action against this sprawling petroleum network makes it explicitly clear that those purchasing Iranian oil are directly supporting Iran’s militant terrorist arm.”
The new sanctions came 10 days after President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani indicated a meeting might be possible – but not without conditions.
Trump repeated the offer Wednesday, even as White House and Treasury and State Department officials were discussing the new measures. The two leaders are to attend the annual U.N. General Assembly late this month.
“Sure. Anything is possible,” Trump said of that venue. “We could solve it in 24 hours.”
“We’re going to see what happens. They want to talk. They want to make a deal,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We’re not looking for regime change. They have tremendous potential, and I believe they are going to want to take advantage of that.”
UPI contributed to this story