(WJC)–Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reportedly said that he and fellow world leaders “believe absolutely” that Israel may decide to take military action against Iran to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. “Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power [so] the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively,” Berlusconi was quoted by ‘Haaretz’ as telling reporters following talks with other G-8 leaders near Toronto, Canada, on Saturday.
The leaders of Britain, Canada France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States devoted much of their two-day session to discuss the contentious nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran. They afterwards issued a joint communiqué calling on the regime in Iran to “respect the rule of law” and to “hold a “transparent dialogue” over its nuclear ambitions. “We are profoundly concerned by Iran’s continued lack of transparency regarding its nuclear activities and its stated intention to continue and expand enriching uranium, including to nearly 20 percent,” the statement said.
“Our goal is to persuade Iran’s leaders to engage in a transparent dialogue about its nuclear activities and to meet Iran’s international obligations,” the leaders declared, urging the Islamic Republic “to implement relevant resolutions to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”
Meanwhile, CIA Director Leon Panetta has said that Tehran now probably had enough low-enriched uranium to build two nuclear weapons, although it would likely take two years to build them. Panetta also expressed doubts that recent UN sanctions against Iran will put an end to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Panetta told the ABC show ‘This Week’ that there was “some debate” as to whether Iran would proceed with building a bomb. Asked about a possible Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Panetta said Israel was giving the United States enough room on the diplomatic and political fronts.
Russian President Dmitry called the CIA report “worrying”. He said: “This information has to be checked, but such information is always worrying – and all the more so because the international community does not recognize the Iranian nuclear program as transparent.”
Iran rejected Panetta’s comments, saying they amounted to “psychological war.” A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tehran declared: “What Iran is pursuing is only in the framework of the rights that its membership of the International Atomic Energy Agency entitles it to. The real concern is disarmament and non-proliferation.”
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.
Today’s actions also highlight for the international community Iran’s use of its financial sector, shipping industry and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to carry out and mask its proliferation activities, and respond to the Council’s call for all states to take action to prevent their own financial systems from being abused by Iran.
Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 – which is aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters thereby isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems – Treasury today designated:
- Post Bank of Iran for providing financial services to, and acting on behalf of, Bank Sepah
- Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) entities and individuals
- The IRGC Air Force and IRGC Missile Command, both of which have ties to Iran’s ballistic missile program
- Rah Sahel and Sepanir Oil and Gas Engineering Co. for their ties to previously designated Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters
- Two individuals for their roles in the IRGC
- Two individuals and two entities for their ties to Iran’s WMD programs, including Javedan Mehr Toos, a procurement broker for Kalaye Electric Company
- Five Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) front companies
Treasury also today identified 27 vessels as property blocked because of their connection to IRISL and updated the entries for 71 already-blocked IRISL vessels to identify new names given to these vessels as part of IRISL’s efforts to evade sanctions.
As a result of today’s designations, all transactions involving any of the designees and any U.S. person are prohibited, and any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.
Treasury also today identified 22 entities in the insurance, petroleum and petrochemicals industries determined to be owned or controlled by the Government of Iran by adding them to Appendix A to the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR). 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 such entities.
Post Bank of Iran
Treasury is today designating Post Bank of Iran for providing financial services to, and acting on behalf of, Bank Sepah. Bank Sepah was designated in January 2007 pursuant to E.O. 13382 for providing financial services to Iran’s missile industry, including two entities linked to Iran’s ballistic missile program, Shahid Bakeri Industries Group and Shahid Hemmat Industries Group. Bank Sepah was subsequently designated by the United Nations in March 2007 under UNSCR 1747.
Since 2007, Bank Sepah has faced severe difficulties in processing international transactions. Prior to the designation of Bank Sepah, Post Bank’s business was nearly entirely conducted within Iran. With Iran’s state-owned banks, facing increasing sanctions, Iran began using Post Bank to facilitate international trade. In fact, Post Bank stepped into the shoes of Bank Sepah, after it was designated by the UN, to carry out Bank Sepah’s transactions and hide its identity. In 2009, Post Bank facilitated business on behalf of Bank Sepah between Iran’s defense industries and overseas beneficiaries.
Post Bank, on behalf of Bank Sepah, has also facilitated millions of dollars worth of business between Hong Kong Electronics and other overseas beneficiaries. Hong Kong Electronics was designated by Treasury in June 2009 under E.O. 13382 for providing support to North Korea’s Tanchon Commercial Bank and its primary weapons dealer, Korea Mining Development Corporation (KOMID). Tanchon, named in the Annex to E.O. 13382 and designated under UNSCR 1718, is a commercial bank based in Pyongyang North Korea, and is the financial arm of KOMID, which is also named in the Annex to E.O. 13382.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
Treasury today is targeting the IRGC Air Force and IRGC Missile Command, key elements in the operational deployment of Iran’s ballistic missile capability, and Rah Sahel as well as Sepanir Oil and Gas Engineering Co., two subsidiaries of Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters (KAA), the engineering arm of the IRGC that serves to help the IRGC generate income and fund its operations. KAA owned or controlled by the IRGC and is involved in the construction of streets, highways, tunnels, water conveyance projects, agricultural restoration, and pipelines. KAA was designated by Treasury under E.O. 13382 in October 2007 and most recently under UNSCR 1929. Rah Sahel and Sepanir Oil and Gas Engineering Co. were also sanctioned on June 9, 2010 by the United Nations with the adoption of UNSCR 1929.
The IRGC maintains significant political and economic power in Iran. It has ties to companies controlling billions of dollars in business and construction projects and it is a growing presence in Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. The IRGC has numerous economic interests related to defense production, construction, and the oil industry.
The IRGC was designated by the State Departmentunder E.O. 13382 in October 2007 for having engaged, or attempted to engage, in proliferation-related activities. The IRGC has been outspoken in its willingness to facilitate the proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of carrying WMD. The IRGC has broad links to Iran’s ballistic missile programs and is one of the primary regime organizations tied to developing and testing the Shahab-3 missile.
Treasury is also designating today the following individuals for their roles in the IRGC:
- Mohammad Ali Jafari has been the Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC since September 2007.
- Mohammad Reza Naqdi has served as head of the IRGC’s Basij Resistance Force since October 2009. Naqdi was sanctioned by the United Nations in March 2008 under UNSCR 1803 for being the former Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff for Logistics and Industrial Research/Head of the State Anti-Smuggling Headquarters. The U.N. described him as being involved in efforts to evade the sanctions previously imposed under UNSCRs 1737 and 1747.
Entities and Individuals with Ties to Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Programs
Javedan Mehr Toos, an entity that serves as a procurement broker for Kalaye Electric Company, is being designated today for providing services to, and acting on behalf of, Kalaye Electric Company.
Kalaye Electric Company was designated by Treasury in February 2007, also pursuant to E.O. 13382, for being owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), the main organization in Iran for research and development activities in the field of nuclear technology, including Iran’s centrifuge enrichment program and experimental laser enrichment of uranium program. AEOI, which reports directly to Iran’s president and manages Iran’s overall nuclear program, was identified in the Annex to E.O. 13382 and sanctioned by the United Nations under UNSCR 1737. Kalaye Electric Company is linked to Iran’s centrifuge research and development efforts. Both organizations are listed in the Annex to UN Security Council Resolution 1737 because of their involvement in Iran’s nuclear program.
Since 2009, Javedan Mehr Toos, located in Tehran, has been sought out by Kalaye Electric Company to obtain a variety of nuclear-related equipment on the international market, including magnets which can be used in centrifuges. In early 2010, Javedan Mehr Toos procured specialized valves and vacuum gauges that could ultimately be used for Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
Treasury also designated today the following individuals and entity for their ties to Iran’s nuclear and WMD programs:
- Javad Karimi Sabet has been linked to AEOI since at least 2006, serving as the head of Novin Energy Company (Novin). Novin was designated by Treasury in January 2006 under E.O. 13382 for being owned or controlled by the AEOI, and was sanctioned by the United Nations in March 2007 under UNSCR 1747.
- Ahmad Vahidi serves as Iran’s Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), a position he has held since September 2009. Prior to that, he served as Iran’s Deputy Defense Minister and held positions with the IRGC-Qods Force. MODAFL has ultimate authority over Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO) and Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO), both of which have been designated under E.O. 13382.
- The Naval Defense Missile Industry Group (aka Cruise Missile Industry Group or CMIG) is owned or controlled by the AIO. The AIO is the overall manager and coordinator of Iran’s missile program and oversees all of Iran’s missile industries. CMIG was sanctioned by the United Nations in March 2007 under UNSCR 1747 for being involved in the development and production of cruise missiles, as well as being responsible for naval missiles.
Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL)
Treasury took further action today against the network of Iran’s national maritime carrier, IRISL, by designating five front companies aiding IRISL in evading sanctions, identified 27 new vessels as blocked property due to their connection to IRISL, and updating the entries for 71 already-blocked IRISL vessels to identify new names given to them in order to evade sanctions.
Treasury designated IRISL in September 2008 pursuant to Executive Order 13382 for providing logistical services to Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). MODAFL has authority over the AIO, the arm of the Iranian military that oversees Iran’s ballistic missile program, and has used IRISL to conceal the true destination of shipments of military-related goods destined for MODAFL.
Since being designated, IRISL has increasingly relied upon a series of front companies and has engaged in deceptive behavior – such as falsifying shipping documents and renaming ships – to assist it in overcoming the impact of sanctions and increased scrutiny of its behavior. IRISL has also been involved in Iranian attempts to transfer arms-related material. Iran is prohibited from exporting arms and related material by UNSCR 1747.
IRISL established the front company, Hafiz Darya Shipping Company (HDS Lines), in 2009, to conduct its containerized shipping operations under the HDS Lines brand name. HDS has retained some IRISL officers as corporate members. In late 2009, HDS Lines assumed IRISL’s containerized shipping operations and established shipping routes nearly identical to those formerly operated by IRISL.
Similarly, IRISL created Soroush Sarzamin Asatir Ship Management Company, also designated today, which has assumed IRISL’s ship management functions in the wake of sanctions against IRISL. Like HDS Lines, it also shares corporate officers with IRISL.
Safiran Payam Darya (SAPID) Shipping Co., also designated today, was created by IRISL in April 2009 to take control of several ships previously directly owned by IRISL and to handle IRISL’s former bulk and general cargo operations. SAPID’s directors and/or shareholders are five members of IRISL’s Board of Directors: Mohammad Hossein Dajmar, IRISL’s Managing Director; Gholamhossein Golpavar, IRISL’s Commercial Director; Mohammad Mehdi Rasekh; Masoud Nik Nafs; and Mohammad Sadegh Mofateh. Dajmar serves as SAPID’s Chairman, and Nik Nafs serves as its Vice-Chairman. Golparvar serves as SAPID’s Managing Director, while Rasekh and Mofateh serve as SAPID directors.
Two Hong Kong-based companies affiliated with IRISL, Seibow Limited and Seibow Logistics are also being designated today.
Today’s designations of IRISL front companies and identification of new and renamed IRISL-affiliated vessels also reinforce UNSCR 1803, which among other things, calls upon all States to inspect, in accordance with their national legal authorities and consistent with international law, cargoes to and from Iran, aircraft and vessels, at their seaports and airports, including their ports, owned or operated by IRISL, “provided there is reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel is transporting goods prohibited” under UNSCRs 1737, 1747, and 1803.
HAFIZ DARYA SHIPPING CO. A.K.A. HDS LINES; HAFIZ DARYA SHIPPING LINES COMPANY
Location: No 60. Ehteshamiyeh Square
7th Neyestan Street
IMO Number: 5878431
SOROUSH SARZAMIN ASATIR SHIP MANAGEMENT COMPANY
Location: No. 5 Shabnam Alley
Shahid Motahari Avenue Tehran
Location: P.O. Box 19365-1114 Tehran, Iran
IMO Number: 5466371
SAFIRAN PAYAM DARYA SHIPPING COMPANY
AKA SAPID SHIPPING CO
Official Address: No. 3, 8th Narenjestan Street, Artesh Boulevard,
Farmaniyah Avenue, Tehran, Iran
Alt. Address: No. 33, 8th Narenjestan Street
Artesh Boulevard, Aghdasieh,
Office Address: P.O. Box 1963116 Tehran, Iran
Web Page: www.sapidshpg.com
Location: Room 803
111 How Kimg St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Incorporation No.: 926320
SEIBOW LOGISTICS LIMITED
Location: Room 803
111 How Kimg St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Incorporation No.: 1218675
Preceding provided by the U.S. Treasury Department