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US takes action against Iranian “sanction evasion network,” having ties with Turkey and UAE

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of Treasury came down on an Iranian “extensive sanctions evasion network” that includes twenty-five individuals and entities from Iran, UAE, and Turkey, OFAC announced in a press release on Tuesday.

The network is claimed to have transferred more than a billion dollars and euros to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) of Iran, and to have procured vehicles worth millions of dollars for MODAFL.

Since the maximum pressure campaign by the US severely constricts its sources of revenue, the Iranian regime relies increasingly on such extensive sanction evasion networks, OFAC claims.

OFAC also designated MODAFL pursuant to Executive Order 13224 for its role in assisting the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), as well as a bank based in Iran for providing services to the IRGC-QF.

“We are targeting a vast network of front companies and individuals located in Iran, Turkey, and the UAE to disrupt a scheme the Iranian regime has used to illicitly move more than a billion dollars in funds,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The network is only the latest example of using deceptive practices by Iran, in an effort to exploit the global financial system and divert resources to sanctioned entities, according to Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Being a leading sanctions buster and source of illegal finance, Turkey has helped Iran evade sanctions for Aykan Erdemir, senior fellow of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former Turkish MP. Mandelkar went on to say that the Turkish government was trying to do the same for Venezuela.

According to Assistant US Attorney Michael Lockard, Turkish state-run Halkbank has played a major role in a previous Iran sanctions-busting scheme, which was called “the biggest sanctions evasion case prosecuted in the US,” after the trial concluded last year.

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