New Sanctions Target Iranian Trading Network

One day after the United States lifted decade-old sanctions against Iran, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 11 entities and individuals involved in procurement on behalf of Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The new sanctions target a trading network, which "obfuscated the end user of sensitive goods for missile proliferation by using front companies in third countries to deceive foreign suppliers,” OFAC said. Specifically, the agency sanctioned United-Arab-Emirates-based Mabrooka Trading Co. LLC and its China- and UAE-based network as well as five Iranian individuals.

Tensions between Iran and the United States are far from over, said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl. “At the same time that sanctions are being lifted as part of the nuclear deal, the U.S. has imposed new ones on companies and entities that have been contributing to the Iranian missile program.” Iran has asserted it will “aggressively pursue its legal rights on this program,” Kuehl noted. “The tit-for-tat may be a diplomatic ploy so both leaders of the U.S. and Iran can look tough at the same time that they are making progress toward some real cooperation on the issues that matter the most to them. The U.S. stalls its nuclear program, and the Iranians get to sell more oil.”

In a U.S. Department of Treasury press release, Adam Szubin, acting under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, states: “Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions. We have consistently made clear that the United States will vigorously press sanctions against Iranian activities outside of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – including those related to Iran’s support for terrorism, regional destabilization, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile program.”

Iran has denounced the new sanctions as having “no legal or moral legitimacy.”

- Diana Mota, NACM associate editor

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