U.S. Sanctions Iranian-Iraqi Businessman Over Support of Iran’s Quds Force

WASHINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) – The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on an Iranian-Iraqi businessman and his mining company, accusing him of being involved in efforts by Iran‘s elite Quds Force to generate revenue illegally and smuggle weapons abroad, the U.S. Treasury Department said.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that Amir Dianat has supported Quds Force smuggling operations for years, including efforts aimed at shipping weapons including missiles and at smuggling shipments from Iran to Yemen.

The sanctions freeze any U.S.-held assets of Dianat or his company Taif Mining Services, which the U.S. Treasury Department alleged was a front company for the Quds Force, and generally bar Americans from dealing with them.

In addition to the Treasury Department’s blacklisting of Dianat, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia filed criminal charges against him and one of his business associates for violations of sanctions and money laundering laws.

The office also filed a related action alleging that $12 million is subject to forfeiture as funds involved in the crimes and as assets of a foreign terrorist organization, the Treasury Department said.

“The Iranian regime and its supporters continue to prioritize the funding of international terrorist organizations over the health and well-being of the Iranian people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have spiked since Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and began reimposing sanctions that had been eased under the accord.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)

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