The Biden administration announced new sanctions on Wednesday against an international oil smuggling and money laundering network allegedly led by Iran’s Quds Force, involving Hezbollah, Chinese and Russian companies.
The network allowed for the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of Iranian oil for Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Quds Force.
“This network is backed by senior levels of the Russian Federation government and state-run economic enterprises,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Blinken said Iran’s Quds Force and their proxies continue to perpetuate conflict and suffering throughout the region.
While the United States continues to seek a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA, we will not hesitate to target those who support the IRGC or Hizballah. We are designating an IRGC-QF-led and Russian-backed international oil smuggling and money laundering network.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 25, 2022
In a statement from the Treasury Department, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said Washington was “fully committed” to holding the Iranian regime accountable for its support for terrorism in the Middle East. “While the United States continues to seek a mutual return to full implementation of the [JCPOA], we will not hesitate to target those who provide a critical lifeline of financial support and access to the international financial system for the Quds Force or Hezbollah,” he said.
A group of Iran-backed IRGC officials was designated in Wednesday’s announcement. A Turkey-based Quds Force network, another one based in China and a Hezbollah front company, were also sanctioned.
US still considers Iran’s IRGC a terrorist group: State Department official“It was never certain, it was never clear to us whether we’d be able to achieve a mutual return to [JCPOA] compliance, so we’ve always been engaged in contingency planning with our partners,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said. Middle East
Lebanon’s intel chief meets top US officials, CIA head for talks on hostages in SyriaAbbas Ibrahim also said the shadow war between Israel and Iran was taking place at a distance from Lebanon and that he doesn't think it will spill over to areas outside of the current arena. Middle East