Published: Thu, September 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US cranks up pressure on Iran with sanctions on oil shipping network

US cranks up pressure on Iran with sanctions on oil shipping network

The Trump administration stepped up pressure on Iran on Wednesday, imposing sanctions on an oil shipping network with ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guard and offering a reward of up to $15 million for anyone with information that could disrupt its faltering economy even further.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses parliament in Tehran on September 3.

The Adrian Darya, formerly known as the Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marine commandos in darkness at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.

THE US State Department has announced plans for "sweeping action" against what it called an "oil-for-terror network" operated by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force unit.

An Iranian shipping network has been added to a list of entities targeted by US sanctions as part of a Trump administration to increase economic pressure on the Islamic Republic. The May 2018 exited the deal, which had frozen Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The department conducted extensive outreach to several ship captains and shipping companies warning them of the consequences of helping Iran evade US sanctions and providing support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, according to the spokesperson, who added that companies and individuals found to be working with designated persons or entities could be subject to sanctions themselves.

The Mehdi Group and its officials including Ali Zaheer Mehdi bears responsibility for crewing and managing at least seven of the vessels used by the network and also for managing vessels across at least ten subsidiaries and shell companies.

Hook told FT, "Iran knows that the success of our pressure campaign depends on vigorous enforcement of oil sanctions".

Gold edges down on stronger dollar, US-China trade woes limit losses
A separate survey by an industry group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, showed activity declining. The dollar slipped to ¥106.20 in Asian afternoon trade from ¥106.26 in NY late on Friday.

A reward of up to $15 million is being offered for "actionable" information "leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms of the IRGC and Qods Force".

The Treasury sanctions on Wednesday follow designations on the Iranian space program on Tuesday, and last week on the Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1 and its captain, Akhilesh Kumar.

A report by The Financial Times revealed Wednesday that four days before the U.S. imposed sanctions on the tanker, the vessel's Indian captain received an unusual email from Hook.

The entities which can be going through the brand new sanctions embrace the Mehdi Group, based mostly in India.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the punitive measures "totally ineffective". The force operates independently of the regular Iranian military and has vast economic interests.

An oil delivery to Syria could ramp up tensions between Washington and Tehran, sparked by President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

The sanctions on 16 entities, 10 folks and 11 vessels had been introduced simply as Iran was threatening to chop additional its commitments below a nuclear deal until the United States of America eases its stress.

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