Politics

US sanctions 5 Iranian ship captains over Venezuela oil delivery

By AFP and Al-Mashareq staff

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In this photo taken May 25th, the Iranian-flagged oil tanker Fortune is docked at the El Palito refinery after its arrival to Puerto Cabello in the northern state of Carabobo, Venezuela. The US sanctioned on June 24th five Iranian ship captains who delivered oil to Venezuela. [AFP]

The US imposed sanctions Wednesday (June 24th) on five Iranian ship captains who delivered oil to Venezuela, as Washington ratcheted up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro, whose government it considers illegitimate.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Iranian-flagged oil tankers, which delivered some 1.5 million barrels of gasoline and oil to Venezuela, had been placed on the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklist.

"Mariners who do business with Iran and Venezuela will face consequences from the United States of America," Pompeo said.

"As a result of today's sanctions, these captains' assets will be blocked. Their careers and prospects will suffer from this designation," he added.

"The rogue regimes in Caracas and Tehran are unified by their penchant for repressing their people, corruption, self-enrichment and gross mismanagement of their people's wealth," Pompeo said.

The five Iranian-flagged tankers -- Clavel, Petunia, Fortune, Forest and Faxon -- are operated by the US-sanctioned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), the Treasury said.

The blacklisted Iranian captains are Ali Danaei Kenarsari, an employee of IRISL and the master of the Clavel; and Mohsen Gohardehi, who is master of the Petunia, an IRISL-managed tanker.

Also designated are Alireza Rahnavard, an employee of NITC and the master of the Fortune; Reza Vaziri, an employee of NITC and the master of the Forest; and Hamidreza Yahya Zadeh, an employee of NITC and the master of the Faxon.

All five captains have been added to OFAC's Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List (SDN List).

Warning to sanctions evaders

"The Treasury Department will target anyone who supports Iranian attempts to evade US sanctions and who further enables their destabilising behaviour around the world," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

"The Iranian regime's support to the authoritarian and corrupt regime in Venezuela is unacceptable, and the Administration will continue to use its authorities to disrupt it," he said.

In November, the Iranian regime imposed strict rationing and a 50% price hike on gasoline, the Treasury said.

"When the Iranian people protested the abrupt overnight cuts in fuel subsidies, the regime's security forces brutally cracked down on the demonstrators, resulting in the killing of approximately 1,500 people," it said in a statement.

"Now, despite the government's decision to restrict the Iranian people's access to vital fuel, the Iranian regime has sent five tankers carrying over 1.5 million barrels of gasoline and gasoline components to Venezuela," it said.

The Iranian regime "plans to continue gasoline sales to the brutal and corrupt Maduro regime", it added.

"While the Iranian people are forced to ration their fuel supply due to the Iranian regime's corruption, mismanagement and global malign activities, the regime continues to support terrorist groups and allied dictators in Syria and Venezuela with the export of this critical product," the Treasury said.

Mahan Air flights to Venezuela

Blacklisted Iranian carrier Mahan Air also has been embroiled in questionable activity on behalf of the Iranian regime in recent weeks, with multiple flights to transport oil-industry supplies to Venezuela.

Venezuela, which is under US sanctions and on the brink of economic collapse, has sought help from Iran to rebuild its crumbling oil facilities, while Iran, also under US sanctions, is not able to sell enough oil in cash.

The Islamic Republic has sought to make up for this shortfall in revenue by receiving payment in gold from Venezuela.

Mahan Air previously has been accused of collaborating with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Quds Force.

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The representative of the big Satan must spare the peoples and world countries its evil; it must pay attention to putting an end to racial injustice against some American citizens, and to giving people of colour the freedom of expression. It must also stop its police from killing innocent people at public spaces and before the eyes of the world. It must give its media its freedom rather than destroy the offices of the US media gem, CNN, just because it aired what the Black House terrorists didn’t like. Therefore, they sent their mobs to its offices to destroy them under the pretext that it’s spreading lies. The puppy in the Black House should shut up and pay attention to putting an end to racism against peoples of colour inside the USA which had been colonized by white racists. He must give world’s peoples the freedom to decide their fate and stop interfering in their decisions regardless of what their trends are.

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