The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced today a set of designations targeting the financial networks of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the country’s national maritime carrier, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). Today’s actions further expose the continued engagement of the IRGC and IRISL in illicit activities and deceptive behavior.
“Both the IRGC and IRISL are major institutional participants in Iran’s illicit conduct and in its attempts to evade sanctions. We will therefore continue to target and expose their networks,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey.
The IRGC continues to be a primary focus of U.S. and international sanctions against Iran because of the central role it plays in Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, its support for terrorism, as well as its involvement in serious human rights abuses. The U.S., UN, EU, Japan, South Korea and others have all targeted the IRGC for sanctions because of this illicit activity. With the IRGC’s expanding influence and control over broader segments of the Iranian economy – including the defense production, construction, and oil and gas industries – increasing numbers of Iranian businesses are subsumed under the IRGC’s umbrella and identified with its illicit conduct.
Similarly, IRISL plays a key role in Iran’s efforts to advance its missile programs and transport other military cargoes. The enhanced focus of U.S. and international sanctions on IRISL’s illicit activities and deceptive practices has, among other things, led IRISL to default on commercial loans and has made it increasingly difficult for Iran to maintain insurance coverage on IRISL ships. As a result, IRISL has been unable to operate with its full fleet of ships.
Also known as the IRGC Cooperative Foundation, Bonyad Taavon Sepah was formed by IRGC commanders to structure the IRGC’s investments. Eight of its nine-member Board of Trustees are senior IRGC personnel, including the Commander in Chief, Mohammad Ali Jafari, who was designated by Treasury pursuant to E.O. 13382 in June 2010. Parviz Fattah, the Executive Director of Bonyad Taavon Sepah was designated today for acting on behalf of, and providing services to, Bonyad Taavon Sepah.
Iranian bonyads are opaque, quasi-official organizations controlled by key current and past government officials and clerics. Bonyads receive benefits from the Iranian government but are not required to have their budgets publicly approved. They account for a significant portion of Iran’s non-petroleum economy. Bonyad Taavon Sepah offers preferential financial services to IRGC personnel.
Bonyad Taavon Sepah created Ansar Bank to provide financial and credit services to IRGC personnel. IRGC members receive their salaries through Ansar Bank, which also provides special benefits to IRGC personnel. Initially, Ansar Bank operated as a credit union until it transitioned into a fully functioning bank in mid-2009, upon receiving a license from the Central Bank of Iran. Bonyad Taavon Sepah also created Mehr Bank, to serve the IRGC’s Bassij, a volunteer militia that is controlled by the IRGC.
The IRGC has employed the use of Liner Transport Kish (LTK) to support terrorist activities outside of Iran. LTK has been known to provide shipping services outside of Iran in support of Hizballah on behalf of the IRGC. Formed in 2003, LTK is based on Kish Island, Iran.
The IRGC was designated by the U.S. Department of State, pursuant to E.O. 13382, in October 2007 for having engaged, or attempted to engage, in proliferation related activities. Including today’s action, Treasury has designated 14 IRGC-affiliated individuals and entities since June 2010 for facilitating Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile program or support for terrorism.
Moallem Insurance Company was designated today for providing maritime insurance to IRISL vessels. IRISL has been unable to maintain adequate hull and protection-and-indemnity (P&I) insurance because of international sanctions. In October 2009, the UK froze all business ties with IRISL under its counter-terrorism authorities, effectively denying IRISL the ability to continue receiving insurance coverage and other services from UK-based P&I clubs. IRISL then sought insurance coverage from other European providers and P&I clubs that declined to provide this business in light of the recent UK action. For a short period, IRISL obtained insurance coverage from a Bermuda-based P&I club until the government of Bermuda enacted a law in January 2010 to mirror the UK action, forcing IRISL out of the Bermuda insurance market. In early 2010, IRISL was forced to turn to Tehran-based Moallem Insurance Company, which was not in the business of providing maritime insurance.
IRISL was designated by Treasury pursuant to E.O. 13382 in September 2008 for its provision of logistical services to Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), the arm of the Iranian military that oversees its ballistic missile program. Since being designated, IRISL has been increasingly isolated from the international financial system and has in turn engaged in deceptive behavior to evade the impact of sanctions and increased scrutiny of its activities – including by relying on an expansive network of front companies, falsifying shipping documents, changing the nominal ownership of vessels, and repainting ships, all to hide the affiliation of vessels with IRISL.
Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR) Identification
In a separate action, Treasury today identified Pars Oil & Gas Company as an entity determined to be owned or controlled by the Government of Iran, as defined in the ITR. Pars Oil & Gas Company is a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company and was established to develop the South Pars and North Pars gas fields. Until recently, an Iranian consortium led by the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya handled the development of phases 15 and 16 of the South Pars gas field. Khatam al-Anbiya was designated under E.O. 13382 for proliferation activities in October 2007.
The ITR prohibit transactions between U.S. persons and the Government of Iran. These identifications allow U.S. persons and others to identify Iranian Government entities and protect themselves against the risks posed by any such entity.
Entity: BONYAD TAAVON SEPAH
AKA: Bonyad-e Ta'avon-e Sepah
AKA: IRGC Cooperative Foundation
AKA: Sepah Cooperative Foundation
Location: Niayes Highway, Seoul Street, Tehran, Iran
Entity: ANSAR BANK
AKA: Ansar Finance and Credit Fund
AKA: Ansar Financial and Credit Institute
FKA: Ansar Institute
FKA: Ansar al-Mojahedin No-Interest Loan Institute
FKA: Ansar Saving and Interest Free-Loans Fund
Address: Building No. 539, North Pasdaran Street, Tehran, 19575-497, Iran
Entity: MEHR BANK
AKA: Mehr Interest-Free Bank
AKA: Mehr Finance and Credit Institute
Address: 204 Taleghani Ave., Tehran, Iran
Individual: PARVIZ FATTAH
AKA Parviz Fattah-Qarehbaghi
Alternative DOB: 1962
Entity: MOALLEM INSURANCE COMPANY
Address: No. 56 Haghani Boulevard, Vanak Square,
Tehran, 1517973511, Iran
Entity: LINER TRANSPORT KISH
Address: No. 141, Ground Floor, Kish City Services Building,
Kish Island, Iran
Address: No. 10, 3 Floor, Unit 6, Ebrahimi Junction8th Bostan St.,
Address: No. 537, Polygam Street, Mahmoud Abad Road, Khavar Shahr,
Address: No. 7, 1st Floor, Dehghan Building, Shohada (Yadbood) Square,
Bandar Abbas, Iran
Entity: PARS OIL AND GAS COMPANY
Address: No. 133, Side of Parvin Etesami Alley,
opposite Sazman Ab - Dr. Fatemi Avenue, Tehran, Iran
Address: No. 1 Parvin Etesami Street, Fatemi Avenue, Tehran, Iran