This push for UN sanctions to be more strictly enforced comes at a time of increased tensions between Iran and the United States after Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran and Tehran made several malign moves in the Persian Gulf, including shooting down an unmanned American drone and multiple attacks on oil tankers. These oil tanker attacks started in May, just days after Iran vowed to close the keep oil shipping lane in the Strait of Hormuz in response to US sanctions on Iranian oil.
The UN blacklist features the names of 23 individuals and 61 entities that are linked to Iran’s controversial nuclear activities, including Major General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard’s (IRGC) Qods force. (Both the IRGC and Qods Force are designated as terrorist groups by the US State Department.)
All of those listed are subject to a travel ban and asset freeze to be enforced by all UN member-states, which begs the question of how Soleimani keeps getting spotted outside Iran, especially in Iraq and Lebanon. The United States offered to create “a fulsome list” of his trips abroad, in violation of the travel ban.
According to AFP, in its letter to the council on Monday, the United States explained that this list hasn’t been updated in more than nine years and, as such, does not contain all known aliases and other information on those named.
Acting Ambassador Jonathan Cohen wrote: “Full implementation of these asset freeze and travel ban measures requires continuing attention to the details of the designation list.”
The letter mentioned an aviation services company originally known as Pars Aviation, which the US said changed its name to Pouya Air, and a banned company called Oriental Oil Kish, which the United States said was operating, or had ties to, two trading companies in another country.
The United States has not indicated at this time that it would be seeking to add new people or companies to the UN sanctions blacklist, despite having slapped new unilateral sanctions on Iran this week that targeted Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and eight Iranian commanders.
There are 37 individuals and entities that have been removed from the UN blacklist since the Iran nuclear deal was endorsed by the Security Council in 2015.