US imposes massive sanctions against Iranian officials, entities

The US has imposed fresh sanctions against Iranian officials and a patronage network for the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the latest action after Washington recently targeted the Islamic Republic’s oil and financial sectors, according to the Treasury Department.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed the sanctions against the Islamic Revolution Mostazafan Foundation, also known as Bonyad Mostazafan or the Foundation, which is an immense conglomerate of some 160 holdings in key sectors of Iran’s economy, including finance, energy, construction, and mining.

While Bonyad Mostazafan is “ostensibly a charitable organization charged with providing benefits to the poor and oppressed, its holdings are expropriated from the Iranian people and are used by Khamenei to enrich his office, reward his political allies, and persecute the regime’s enemies”, the statement said.

Presided over by former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) official Parviz Fattah, Bonyad Mostazafan was created in the wake of the Islamic Revolution to confiscate and manage property, according to the Treasury Department.

The Foundation has “since emerged as a source of power, wealth, and influence for the Supreme Leader and his inner circle”.

Besides the Foundation, the OFAC on Wednesday also designated Mahmoud Alavi, head of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), which has “played a key role in the Iranian regime’s brutal human rights abuses against the Iranian people”.

The Department has claimed that “MOIS agents are responsible for beatings, sexual abuse, prolonged interrogations, and coerced confessions of prisoners, particularly political prisoners”.

“Iran’s Supreme Leader uses Bonyad Mostazafan to reward his allies under the pretense of charity,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The US will continue to target key officials and revenue generating sources that enable the regime’s ongoing repression of its own people,” he added.

In a separate statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that more sanctions against Iran will follow.

“Throughout the coming weeks and months, we will impose new sanctions on Iran, including using our nuclear, counterterrorism, and human rights authorities,” he added.

As a result of Wednesday’s sanctions, “all property and interests in property of the persons designated for blocking sanctions must be blocked and reported to OFAC if their property or interests in property are in the US or in the possession or control of US persons”, the Department added.

In similar moves, on October 8 the US designated 18 major banks of Iran, and a few days later on October 22, new sanctions were imposed on five Iranian entities for “attempting to influence” the November 3 American presidential election.

On October 27, the US imposed fresh sanctions against the Iranian oil sector, for its “financial support” to Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force.