Iran Economy NewsU.S. targets front companies for Iran shipping line

U.S. targets front companies for Iran shipping line

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Reuters: The United States on Wednesday named five Iranian individuals and three dozen companies that it said were helping Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines in trying to avoid sanctions.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday named five Iranian individuals and three dozen companies that it said were helping Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines in trying to avoid sanctions.

U.S. Treasury Department said “front companies” based in Germany, Malta and Cyprus were facilitating Iran’s use of its national maritime carrier to advance its illicit program for developing weapons of mass destruction and for transporting military cargo.

By designating the companies for assisting Iran, the Treasury Department isolates them from U.S. financial and commercial systems because U.S. citizens are forbidden from dealing with them.

In addition, any assets they have that fall within U.S. jurisdiction can be seized.

Among the companies named were 15 shipping companies, each of which was the registered owner of a vessel already on the Treasury’s list of designated nationals and blocked persons as well as 11 holding companies that own the shipping companies.

“We will continue to expose the elaborate structures and tactics Iran uses to shield its shipping line from international scrutiny so that it can continue to facilitate illicit commerce,” said Stuart Levey, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines was originally designated in September 2008 by the U.S. Treasury for providing logistical services to the arm of the Iranian government that oversees its ballistic missile program.

The Treasury alleged that since then the shipping line has used a series of front companies to try to evade the impact of sanctions and avoid international scrutiny of its activities.

(Reporting by Glenn Somerville; Editing by Anthony Boadle)

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