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US Treasury Sanctions Iran’s Ministry of Oil and National Iranian Oil Company

On Monday, October 26, the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it has sanctioned Iran’s Ministry of oil, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), Minister of Oil Bijan Zanganeh, and several affiliates for their financial support of the Qods (Quds) Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

The seven individuals sanctioned along with these entities for their relations to the Ministry of Oil or IRGC were Masoud Karbasian, Mahmoud Madanipour, Behzad Mohammadi, Ali Akbar Pour Ebrahim, Alireza Sedigh Abadi, Nasrollah Sardashti, and Vian Zangeneh. 

According to the statement released by the US Treasury Department, senior NIOC and NITC personnel have worked closely with Rostam Ghasemi, a senior IRGC-QF official and former Minister of Petroleum who was designated in 2019.

“The regime in Iran uses the petroleum sector to fund the destabilizing activities of the IRGC-QF,” said US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin. “The Iranian regime continues to prioritize its support for terrorist entities and its nuclear program over the needs of the Iranian people.”

The statement by the Treasury Department continues: In spring 2019 alone, an IRGC-QF-led network employed more than a dozen NITC vessels to transport nearly 10 million barrels of crude oil, mostly destined for the Assad regime. These shipments, taken collectively, sold for the equivalent of more than half a billion dollars.

“The Iranian Ministry of oil has been used by individuals at the highest levels of the Iranian regime to facilitate the IRGC-QF’s revenue generation scheme. In mid-2019, the Ministry of Petroleum arranged the loading of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil for shipments to Syria, and in mid-2020 the IRGC-QF and senior regime officials coordinated to use the Ministry of Petroleum to procure U.S. dollars for the benefit of the IRGC-QF,” the statement continues.

A senior administration official told WSJ that additional counterterrorism sanctions will be levied against Iran, including targeting the petrochemicals, metals & transport industries. “We’re not done by a long stretch,” the official said.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration is planning sanctions against Iran that would be difficult to “unwind” by another administration.

With former Vice President Joe Biden leading in most national and battleground state polls, Trump administration officials fear his plan to reengage with Iran could upend the diplomatic leverage they believe is critical to strong-arm Tehran into signing a new nuclear and security deal,” the Wall Street Journal said on Friday under the headline ‘Trump Administration Hopes to Make Iran Pressure Campaign Harder to Reverse.’

US Special Representative on Iran Elliot Abrams said last week that even if Joe Biden becomes president and wants to lift Iran’s sanctions, it will be impossible in the short term.In another report, the WSJ announced that Iranian oil tankers transfer their oil to other tankers near the al-Faw port and mixes it with other cargo in order to hide the source and finally sell it in global markets.


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