WASHINGTON: The US has imposed Iran-related sanctions on an Iraq-based company and two people, according to a notice posted on the US Treasury Department website on Wednesday.
The Treasury said in a statement that it had imposed the sanctions on South Wealth Resources Company (SWRC) and two of its Iraqi associates, which the US accuses of trafficking hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to militia in Iraq backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).
SWRC and the two associates have “covertly facilitated the IRGC-QF’s access to the Iraqi financial system to evade sanctions,” the statement said.
The Treasury added that the scheme also served to enrich previously sanctioned Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, an Iraqi adviser to IRGC-QF Commander Qasem Soleimani, who has run weapons smuggling networks and participated in bombings of Western embassies and attempted assassinations in the region.
“Treasury is taking action to shut down Iranian weapons smuggling networks that have been used to arm regional proxies of the IRGC Qods Force in Iraq, while personally enriching regime insiders,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
“The Iraqi financial sector and the broader international financial system must harden their defenses against the continued deceptive tactics emanating from Tehran in order to avoid complicity in the IRGC’s ongoing sanctions evasion schemes and other malign activities.”
The IRGC-QF were previously sanctioned in October 2007. It is a branch of the IRGC responsible for external operations and, according to the US Treasury, has provided material support to numerous terrorist groups, including the Taliban, Lebanese Hizballah, HAMAS, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The US has designated it a key component of Iran’s destabilizing regional activities.
The IRGC-QF’s parent organization, the IRGC, was sanctioned in October 13, 2017, and on April 15 was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Secretary of State.