U.S. Department of the Treasury

01/10/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/10/2020 10:58

Treasury Targets Iran’s Billion Dollar Metals Industry and Senior Regime Officials

Action coincides with President's Executive Order expanding authorities to target additional sources of revenue used by the Iranian regime

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against eight senior Iranian regime officials who have advanced the regime's destabilizing objectives, as well as the largest steel, aluminum, copper, and iron manufacturers in Iran, who collectively generate billions of dollars annually. Treasury's action includes the designations of Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council; Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, the Deputy Chief of Staff of Iranian armed forces; and Gholamreza Soleimani, the head of the Basij militia of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). In addition, Treasury designated 17 Iranian metals producers and mining companies; a network of three China- and Seychelles-based entities; and a vessel involved in the purchase, sale, and transfer of Iranian metals products, as well as in the provision of critical metals production components to Iranian metal producers.

Concurrently with today's designations, the President is signing a new Executive Order (E.O.) that targets additional sources of revenue used by the Iranian regime to fund and support its nuclear program, missile development, terrorism and terrorist proxy networks, and malign regional influence. Specifically, this E.O. authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions against persons operating in or transacting with additional sectors of the Iranian economy, including construction, mining, manufacturing, and textiles.

'The United States is targeting senior Iranian officials for their involvement and complicity in Tuesday's ballistic missile strikes,' said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. 'We are also designating Iran's largest metals manufacturers, and imposing sanctions on new sectors of the Iranian economy including construction, manufacturing, and mining. These sanctions will continue until the regime stops the funding of global terrorism and commits to never having nuclear weapons.'

Foreign Purchasers and Transporters of Iranian Steel, and Providers of Critical Materials Needed for Iranian Metal Production

Since August 2019, Beijing-based trading company Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. has purchased tens of thousands of metric tons of steel slabs on a monthly basis from Iran's Esfahan Mobarakeh Steel Company.

During 2019, Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. has sold multiple consignments of carbon blocks, cathode blocks, and graphite electrodes to Iranian minerals trading firm Khalagh Tadbir Pars Co. for shipment to Iran and use by Iranian metals producers. Since August 2019, Khalagh Tadbir Pars Co. has purchased materials including carbon blocks and cathode blocks from Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. for ultimate end-use by the Iran Aluminum Company.

Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. has also facilitated Khalagh Tadbir Pars Co.'s purchase of materials such as cathodes from Chinese manufacturers. Additionally, in November 2019, Khalagh Tadbir Pars Co. and Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. coordinated the sale of Iranian copper concentrates to a Chinese purchaser.

Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13871 for having knowingly engaged, on or after the date of the E.O. 13871, in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of iron, iron products, aluminum, aluminum products, steel, steel products, copper, or copper products from Iran, as well as for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or service in support of Khalagh Tadbir Pars Co.

Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. uses Power Anchor Limited, located in the Seychelles, as a front company to obfuscate the true Iranian end-user for metals-related materials shipped to Iran. Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. has also used Power Anchor Limited to facilitate payments from Iranian steel companies for purchases of graphite electrodes used in metal production brokered by Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. Power Anchor Limited is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13871 for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd.

In September 2019, the vessel Hong Xun transported steel slabs purchased by Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. from Esfahan Mobarakeh Steel Company from Bandar Abbas, Iran, to China. Hongyuan Marine Co. Ltd., located in Zhejian, China, is the registered owner of the vessel Hong Xun, as well as the vessel's Ship Manager/Commercial Manager. Hongyuan Marine Co. Ltd. is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13871 for having knowingly engaged, on or after the date of E.O. 13871, in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of iron, iron products, aluminum, aluminum products, steel, steel products, copper, or copper products from Iran through its vessel, Hon Xun. OFAC is also identifying the Hong Xun as blocked property in which Hongyuan Marine Co. Ltd. has an interest.

Iranian Iron and Steel Companies and Oman-based Supplier

Today's action targets the 13 largest steel and iron manufacturers in Iran, who collectively generate billions in sales annually.

Mobarakeh Steel Company is the biggest steel producer in the Middle East and the biggest direct reduced iron producer in the world. Mobarakeh Steel Company produces more than 50 percent of Iran's steel in all major markets. OFAC previously designated Mobarakeh Steel Company in October 2018 pursuant to E.O. 13224, a counterterrorism authority, for providing material support to Mehr Eqtesead Iranian Investment Company, an IRGC-affiliated entity.

In addition to Mobarakeh, OFAC is designating Saba Steel, Hormozgan Steel Company, Esfahan Steel Company, Oxin Steel Company, Khorasan Steel Company, South Kaveh Steel Company, Iran Alloy Steel Company, Golgohar Mining and Industrial Company, Chadormalu Mining and Industrial Company, Arfa Iron and Steel Company, Khouzestan Steel Company, and Iranian Ghadir Iron & Steel Co pursuant to E.O. 13871 for operating in the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sectors of Iran.

OFAC is also designating Oman-based Reputable Trading Source LLC, which is owned or controlled by, or has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Khouzestan Steel Company. Reputable Trading Source LLC was incorporated to provide and supply the spare parts, equipment, and raw material that is required by steel companies, and further engages in marketing and exporting steel products from Iran.

Iranian Aluminum and Copper Companies

OFAC is also taking action against the top companies operating in the Iranian aluminum and copper sectors.

Iran Aluminum Company was established as the first producer of aluminum bricks in Iran, and accounts for approximately 75 percent of the country's total aluminum production volume. Also designated today is Al-Mahdi Aluminum Corporation, a top producer of aluminum in Iran, and National Iranian Copper Industries, the leading copper producer in the Middle East and North Africa region. Khalagh Tadbir Pars Co. is a minerals trading firm that deals in iron ore, copper concentrate, alumina, and aluminum.

Iran Aluminum Company, Al-Mahdi Aluminum Corporation, National Iranian Copper Industries, and Khalagh Tadbir Pars Co. are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13871 for operating in the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sectors of Iran.

Ali Shamkhani and Gholamreza Soleimani

OFAC is designating Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), who was appointed by the Supreme Leader in September 2013 as one of his representatives to the SNSC. Ali Shamkhani, an IRGC admiral, is currently the secretary of the SNSC, which determines the country's security and defense policies and coordinates political, intelligence, social, and economic activities in accordance with the Supreme Leader's guidelines.

As the head of the SNCS, Ali Shamkhani plays a key role in implementation of the Supreme Leader's domestic and foreign policies.

Brigadier General Gholamreza Soleimani was appointed by the Supreme Leader on July 2, 2019 as the Commander of the Basij Resistance Force, a paramilitary force subordinate to IRGC. Among other malign activities, the IRGC's Basij militia recruits, trains, and deploys child soldiers to fight in IRGC-fueled conflicts across the region.

Mohsen Reza'i and Mohammad Reza Naqdi

Mohsen Reza'i is a longtime member of Iran's Expediency Council and was appointed by the Supreme Leader. The Expediency Council provides guidance to the Supreme Leader on all manner of policy. Reza'i is a former IRGC commander who is suspected of involvement in the 1994 terrorist attack against the AMIA Jewish community in Argentina, resulting in the deaths of 85 people. Reza'i remains wanted by Argentina and has an active international arrest warrant through Interpol.

Mohammad Reza Naqdi was appointed by the Supreme Leader as the Deputy Coordinator of the IRGC in May 2019. Naqdi is the former Commander of the Basij, as well as a former head of the Basij intelligence unit who was responsible for the interrogation of those arrested during the post-election crackdown in 2009. In this role, he extracted forced confessions from high-ranking reformist leaders broadcast on Iranian state-run television. As a result of his actions in the aftermath of the 2009 protests, Naqdi was previously designated by Treasury in 2011 pursuant to E.O. 13553, a human rights authority.

Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and Ali Abdollahi

Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and Ali Abdollahi are senior Iranian military appointees of the Supreme Leader. Ashtiani was appointed by the Supreme Leader as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian armed forces in July 2019, while IRGC Brigadier General Abdollahi was appointed the Coordination Deputy for the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) in July 2016. Abdollahi is a former Deputy Commander of Iran's Law Enforcement Forces. OFAC previously designated the AFGS and its chief, IRGC General Mohammed Bagheri, pursuant to E.O. 13876 in November 2019.

Ali Shamkhani, Gholamreza Soleimani, Mohsen Reza'i, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and Ali Abdollahi are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for being persons appointed to a position as a state official of Iran by the Supreme Leader.

Ali Asghar Hejazi and Mohsen Qomi

Ali Asghar Hejazi is a senior official within the Supreme Leader's Office in charge of security. Hejazi also maintains close links to the IRGC's Qods Force. Hejazi was previously designated in May 2013 pursuant to E.O. 13553, a human rights authority, for supporting the commission of serious human rights abuses in Iran on or after June 12, 2009, as well as for providing material support to the IRGC and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).

Mohsen Qomi, a Deputy Advisor for International Affairs in the Supreme Leader's Office and an advisor to the Supreme Leader on International Communications, has represented the Supreme Leader on official international visits.

Hejazi and Qomi are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader.

Sanctions Implications

All property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC's regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts or facilitates a significant transaction for or on behalf of the persons designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent or payable-through account sanctions.

Identifying information on the individuals, entities, and vessel designated today.

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