On Monday, June 6, the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), affiliated with the U.S. Department of Treasury, sanctioned 16 individuals, entities, and groups affiliated with several terrorist individuals and entities in the Middle East.
The TFTC is a U.S. government body tasked with enhancing multilateral efforts among the U.S. and the Gulf countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to counter regional money laundering and terrorist financing networks.
The Iranian regime rejected to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2021, which indicated the mullahs’ desire to spread terror and instability across the region. The theocracy’s 43 years of corruption and plundering policies was another deadlock for Iranian authorities’ avoidance of transparency.
In the regime’s latest incident, their longstanding and systematic corruption has resulted in human catastrophes like the collapse of the Metropol twin towers in Abadan on May 23, killing more than 40 victims and leaving many more citizens injured or trapped under the rubble.
According to the TFTC statement, all of the latest targets had been previously designated by the U.S., including individuals associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), the Iran-backed Saraya al-Ashtar and Saraya al-Mukhtar in Bahrain, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the Nigerian Boko Haram.
Who Has Been Sanctioned?
“Ali Qasir, Meghdad Amini, and Morteza Hashemi are part of two networks directed by, and providing financial support to, the IRGC-QF and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah,” the TFTC statement read. “These complex networks of intermediaries allow the IRGC-QF to obfuscate its involvement in selling Iranian oil. The IRGC-QF also relies on these individuals to launder money for Hezbollah officials and front companies and to broker associated contracts.”
Who Is Ali Qasir?
Ali Qasir is a Lebanese businessman affiliated with the IRGC-QF. He is Hezbollah’s key element for circumventing sanctions and facilitating the IRGC-QF’s banking transactions. Using his influence, Qasir is involved in the illegal trade of oil, steel, and other commodities. He is also a coordinator between the IRGC-QF and Hezbollah for orchestrating terror attempts.
Qasir is the axis of the IRGC-QF’s network in the Middle East. He is a Quds Force negotiator in financial affairs, including sailing products, settling ships’ receipts, etc. He also allocates ships to be transformed for the IRGC-QF, dependent on the terrorist organization’s needs.
Ali Qasir was previously designated by OFAC in September 2019 pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC-QF official, former Oil Minister, and current Roads and Urban Development Minister Rostam Ghasemi, who oversaw a vast network involved in oil sales on behalf of the IRGC-QF.
On September 4, 2021, the U.S. State Department Rewards for Justice Program rewarded up to $10 million for information about Ali Qasir and another IRGC-QF ally Mohammad Qassem al-Bazal, a member of Hezbollah’s front company Talaqi.
محمد قاسم البزال و علی قصیر تاجرانی هستند که با دور زدن تحریم ها به تامین مالی حزب الله و نیروی قدس سپاه پاسداران انقلاب اسلامی کمک میکنند. اگر اطلاعاتی در مورد آنها دارید، می توانید پاداشی دریافت کنید. از طریق سیگنال، تلگرام یا واتساپ به ما پیام ارسال نمایید.
— Rewards for Justice فارسی (@RFJ_Persian) September 4, 2021
Who Is Meghdad Amini?
Meghdad Amini is the deputy for Jahan Aras Kish’s CEO, Saeed Najafpour. The Jahan Aras Kish is one of the IRGC’s front companies facilitating the IRGC-QF’s financial transactions. Amini is also a money changer, collaborating with IRGC Commander Massoud Nikbakht in banking operations.
On May 10, 2018, the U.S. and the UAE disrupted a network affiliated with the IRGC-QF, which transferred millions of U.S. dollars between Tehran and Abu Dhabi to fund the Iranian regime’s malign activities and extremist groups in the region.
The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) was involved in these activities and actively supported the network based on the U.S. Visual Embassy in Iran website. Meghdad Amini, Massoud Nikbakht, Saeed Najafpour, and the Jahan Aras Kish company were among designated individuals and entities at the time.
Meghdad Amini was designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in May 2018 under E.O. 13224, as amended, for his role in helping the IRGC-QF transfer cash out of Iran to the UAE for conversion into U.S. dollars.
Who Is Morteza Hashemi?
Seyyed Morteza Minaei Hashemi is a businessman based in China who funds the IRGC-QF operations in compliance with two Chinese individuals, Yan Su Xuan and Song Jing. At the direction of Hashemi, Yan Su Xuan and Song Jing have helped him establish bank accounts and served as straw owners for his companies.
On Hashemi’s behalf, Yan Su Xuan has also purchased U.S.-origin, dual-use products for onward shipment to Iran. Hashemi also controls a network comprised of multiple companies based out of Hong Kong and mainland China, according to the U.S. Treasury Department statement in September 2021.
The statement read, “Victory Somo Group (H.K.) Limited and Yummy Be Charm Trading (H.K.) Limited are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, Song Jing. Hashemi maintains significant oversight over the funds and administration of these two companies.”
Hashemi had already been designated according to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF and Hezbollah.
How Does the IRGC-QF Network work?
According to leaked documents, Qasir and Amini oversee a network of dozens of IRGC-QF-backed individuals who facilitate the terrorist-designated entity’s financial transactions in Iran, the UAE, Turkey, and Lebanon. The network is active in two areas: the sale of Gold and the sale of Cellphone and tech products.
The network reportedly earned millions of dollars through a platform run by Demir Shilou, Meghdad Amini’s accountant, for buying gold and tech products.
Morteza Hashemi was purchasing gold bars from Iranian bazaars and smuggling them to Turkey via Iranian customs bypassing sanctions. His network returned the sales amounts to Iran in foreign currency, mainly U.S. dollars.
Hossein Assadollahi, a businessman, affiliated with the IRGC-QF, purchased tech products under Amini’s supervision. He then distributed and sold cellphone and tech products through Surin Pakhsh Rayaneh Co. in Iran.
Amini and his staff changed millions of dollars from UAE Dirhams to U.S. dollars and deposited them in the Iranian Mellat bank and other banks in Dubai. At the last stage of transactions, Amini then transfers these amounts to Iran.
According to reports, the Qasir-Amini network has transferred millions of dollars to the Lebanese Hezbollah under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s order. This is another part of Tehran’s illegal financial transactions destabilizing the region and spreading warmongering and terrorism.