Reuters: The United States increased pressure on Iran over its nuclear program on Wednesday by imposing sanctions against its national maritime carrier and 18 affiliates, effectively targeting much of its shipping sector.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States increased pressure on Iran over its nuclear program on Wednesday by imposing sanctions against its national maritime carrier and 18 affiliates, effectively targeting much of its shipping sector.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), Iran's national maritime carrier, and the 18 affiliates, provided logistic support for Iran's Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics, and that they lied about their activities.
"Not only does IRISL facilitate the transfer of cargo for U.N. designated proliferators, it also falsifies documents and uses deceptive schemes to shroud its involvement in illicit commerce," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
"IRISL's actions are part of a broader pattern of deception and fabrication that Iran uses to advance its nuclear and missile programs," Levey added.
IRISL is a global operator with a worldwide network of subsidiaries and connects Iranian exporters and importers with South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Iran, which has the world's third-largest proven oil reserves, is the fourth biggest crude oil exporter and much of it is done through tanker shipments.
But the Treasury Department said it did not believe its new sanctions would have a major impact on Iranian oil exports.
The Treasury Department said it was banning any transactions between U.S. citizens and IRISL and its affiliates and said that it would try to freeze any assets the companies have under U.S. jurisdiction.
The Treasury Department said that IRISL "deliberately misled maritime authorities through the use of deception techniques" and said it was continually adopting new methods to try to evade future detection of military shipments.
(Reporting by Glenn Somerville; Editing by Kristin Roberts)