The US Treasury today added two additional Iranian banks – Bank Ansar and Bank Mehr – to its growing list of Iranian financial institutions under US sanctions. The Treasury accused the banks of financing IRGC and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) activities in support of Iran’s nuclear program. The designation would make it nearly impossible for the banks to link to the global financial markets to issue letters of credit and other financial instruments required in international transactions.
The Treasury also designated Pars Oil and Gas Company, a major subsidiary of the Iranian National Oil Company, as an entity supporting the country's nuclear and missile programs. Pars is the country's lead developer of Pars Gas Fields, which along the adjacent Qatari fields form the world's largest gas field.
On the insurance front, the Treasury added Moalem Insurance Co. to the list of entities under US sanctions. The action would prevent the company to issue internationally accepted insurance coverage for IRISL, further complicating the activities of the country's flag shipping lines.
Also designated were Bonyad Taavoni Sepah (“IRGC Cooperative”) as an entity handling IRGC investments and Liner Transport Kish, for among other things transporting arms from Iran to Hezbollah.
"It's clear that it's important for us to continue to impose pressure to highlight the fact that firms are looking for ways to help Iran evade international sanctions," said Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey [Reuters, 21 December].