Treasury’s Mnuchin targets Iranian paramilitary financial network

On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department led by Steven Mnuchin took aim at Iran’s Basij Resistance Force.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The U.S. Treasury Department announced its newest round of sanctions on Iranian banks, selected industries, and companies supporting one of Iran’s most fearsome militias, the Basij Resistance Force.

On Tuesday, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) stated its determination to act against a network masking “Basij ownership and control over a variety of multi-billion-dollar business interests in Iran’s automotive, mining, metals, and banking industries, many of which have significant international dealings across the Middle East and with Europe.”

The sanctions will go into effect against four banks, several investment firms, zinc, steel, and chemical production companies, and a tractor manufacturer, all of which are either front companies or “seemingly legitimate businesses which have been infiltrated to fund terrorism and other malign activities.”

The Basij Resistance Force is the “domestic suppression arm” of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Treasury says. A paramilitary force formed soon after the 1979 Islamic revolution, it’s one of the Iranian regime’s primary means to enforce internal security, with branches in every province and city in the country.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the huge number of businesses it controls funds a particularly egregious violation of human rights – and war crimes.

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“This vast network provides financial infrastructure to the Basij’s efforts to recruit, train, and indoctrinate child soldiers who are coerced into combat under the IRGC’s direction,” he stated.

“The international community must understand that business entanglements with the … Basij network and IRGC front companies have real world humanitarian consequences.  This helps fuel the Iranian regime’s violent ambitions across the Middle East,” he said.

The list of financial entities will be listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.