The United States has issued sanctions against two people, which they say are running procurement networks linked to the Iranian Regime, for engaging in secretive acquisition activities that are believed to benefit the Iranian Regime’s military.
On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department said that one of these networks is run by Iranian national Hamed Dehghan, the CEO and chairman of Pishtazan Kavosh Gostar Boshra (PKGB), LLC, and the manager and board chairman of Ebtekar Sanat Ilya.
The Treasury said Dehghan’s network, which Hadi Dehghan also worked for, used a Hong Kong-based company to evade sanctions from the US and other countries, but also to target US technology and components for people linked to the Iranian Regime and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC was designated as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) by the US State Department in April 2019.
The second network, led by Iranian national Seyed Hossein Shariat, purchased Nuclear Suppliers Group's aluminium alloy products, according to the Treasury, for the benefit of the Iranian regime's military.
This was part of the Treasury’s close collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to bring to justice those responsible for facilitating more than ten million dollars’ worth of proliferation-related transactions.
Treasury Department official Sigal Mandelker said: "As the Iranian regime attempts to use complex schemes to hide its efforts to bolster its WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), the US government will continue to thwart them at every turn. We urge governments worldwide to recognize the extraordinary lengths to which the regime in Tehran will go to conceal its behaviour, and to ensure that their companies and financial institutions are not facilitating Iran's proliferation activities."
The Treasury said that it also imposed sanctions on individuals linked to these networks, including Shaghayegh Akhaei, who is the general manager and a member of the board of directors of PKGB, and Mahdi Ebrahimzadeh, who helped Hamed Dehghan with his company procuring electronic components.
These sanctions are part of the US’s ongoing “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation on the Iranian Regime over its nuclear program, following the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement in May 2018.
The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed by the US, the UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia. It was designed to restrict the Iranian Regime's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, but the US said that Iran is not compliant, having continued to launch ballistic missiles and not disabled its nuclear reactor.