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Wednesday, 28 February 2024 08:20

U.S. Blacklists Companies Over $100 Million Iranian Commodity Shipment to China

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued new sanctions against two companies for operating a tanker shipping over $100 million in Iranian commodities to China.

The companies, Kohana Company Limited and Iridescent Co Ltd, are registered in Hong Kong and the Marshall Islands, respectively. The transactions were conducted on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), which is aiding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and providing weapons, specifically unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to Iranian-aligned militia groups in the Middle East.

“Iran’s Ministry of Defense is engaged in a series of schemes to fund destabilizing activities that range from supplying militia groups with weapons used to attack U.S. forces to aiding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Treasury will continue to disrupt the illicit revenue-generation efforts that support these destabilizing acts.”

The action taken by OFAC is in line with the counterterrorism authority in Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. MODAFL was previously designated by OFAC under the EO on March 26, 2019, for its support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), a group that has been providing support to multiple terrorist groups since October 25, 2007.

According to the U.S., entities associated with MODAFL are involved in the production of Iranian weapons systems, including UAVs, which are often transferred to Russia or provided to Iran’s proxy and partner groups to use against U.S., allied, and partner interests throughout the Middle East. To support these efforts, the Iranian government allocates billions of dollars’ worth of commodities to Iranian military entities, including MODAFL.

In late January 2024, MODAFL organized a shipment of Iranian commodities valued at over $100 million to companies in China aboard the Panama-flagged tanker KOHANA. The vessel, currently eon route to China, is owned by Kohana Company Limited and operated by Iridescent Co Ltd.

As a result of their activities, Kohana Company Limited and Iridescent Co Ltd have been designated under E.O. 13224 for their material assistance and provision of financial, material, and technological support to MODAFL. The vessel KOHANA is identified as property in which Kohana Company Limited has an interest.

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