By Pooya Stone
The Iranian regime, weakened by international sanctions, is incessantly trying to circumvent these sanctions.
Whether with the help of its front companies and the help of allied countries such as Venezuela. The regime was hit extremely by these sanctions. It has lost its revenue for supporting its malign activities around the world and has no more money to support its proxy groups like Hezbollah.
The world should stay alert and stop these activities which are not in the interest of the Iranian people. It continued Mahan Air flights to China which brought the coronavirus disaster to the Iranian people.
On 19 May, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it is “designating China-based Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited for acting as a general sales agent (GSA) for or on behalf of Iranian airline Mahan Air.”
“This is the seventh designation of a GSA to Mahan Air since 2018. Mahan Air is designated under counterterrorism authorities for providing support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), as well as under a counter-proliferation authority that targets weapons of mass destruction proliferators and their supporters.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said, “We will not hesitate to target those entities that continue to maintain commercial relationships with Mahan Air.”
“For years, Mahan Air flights have transported terrorists and lethal cargo throughout the Middle East, including to Syria to prop up the murderous Assad regime.”
A court in the US state of Minnesota on 18 May accused a company linked to Iran’s regime called “Payment 24” and two of its executives of violating sanctions.
The Wall Street Journal wrote: “The U.S. charged an Iranian online financial services company and two of its senior executives with violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, U.S. prosecutors said.”
“Seyed Sajjad Shahidian, Vahid Vali and the company, Payment24, were criminally charged with conspiracy to commit offenses against the U.S., money laundering, identity theft, and wire fraud, according to an indictment unsealed Monday in federal court in Minnesota.
“Prosecutors alleged that Payment24, which had about 40 employees with offices in Iran, primarily helped Iranian citizens circumvent U.S. sanctions to conduct transactions with U.S.-based businesses from about 2009 to November 2018, such as purchasing computer software, software licenses and computer servers. The U.S. has broad sanctions on Iran, prohibiting exports of U.S. goods, technology, or services to Iran.”
On 15 May, ABC’s website wrote regarding a two-year prison sentence for an Iranian regime dealer that the federal court in Jefferson has sentenced the dealer to prison for violating sanctions.
His name is Massoud Latifi and he is a Colombian citizen. Latifi pleaded guilty to forgery and concealment of documents in forms related to international shipments saying that he sends goods with the help of an intermediary in the United Arab Emirates and sends them to Iran from there. He admitted in his confession that he had received $50,000 for shipping.
In other news, a German court in Frankfurt on 15 May sentenced a 43-year-old businessman to five years in prison for circumventing sanctions on Tehran.
He was tried for handing over a banknote printing machine to the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). The Frankfurt tribunal’s ruling is two years shorter than the of the sentence the defendant received in the 2018 trial. According to the court, the defendant was aware of the crime and intended to save his company, which had previously faced economic problems, with a ‘million-dollar deal.’
The Associated Press on 17 May wrote, “Five Iranian tankers likely carrying at least $45.5 million worth of gasoline and similar products are now sailing to Venezuela, part of a wider deal between the two U.S.-sanctioned nations amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington. For Iran, the tankers represent a way to bring money into its cash-starved Shiite theocracy.”
In fear of the activation of the “trigger mechanism” of UN sanctions and the return of international sanctions against the regime, while the regime is trying to make money as fast as possible, the state-run website Donye-e-Eghtesad on 17 May wrote:
“Although the United States is no longer a member of the JCPOA, the Resolution 2231 affirms the right of key members of the Security Council to activate the “trigger mechanism”. So, the “trigger mechanism” strategy may succeed.”
The source added: “Restoring all UN sanctions against the regime would be dangerous”, and “Some Washington allies may support extending the arms embargo by claiming of the United States, that the (Islamic Republic) could use its new weapons against Western military forces in the region. As Fox News reports, even Democrat and progressive Congressman Ilhan Omar have expressed support for extending Iran’s arms embargo.”
State-run website Siasat-e-Rooz wrote: “The European Union is cooperating with the United States to extend its arms embargo on Iran.”