"U.S. targets companies accused of evading Iran sanctions," by Timothy Gardner for Reuters, April 11:
(Reuters) - The United States on Thursday slapped financial penalties on an Iranian businessman, a Malaysian bank and a network of companies it accused of attempting to evade international sanctions on Iran's nuclear program through money laundering. The Treasury Department blacklisted Babak Zanjani and First Islamic Investment Bank for providing financial and other support to the National Iranian Oil Company.
It said Zanjani and a network of companies had moved billions of dollars on behalf of the Iranian government, including tens of millions of dollars to an engineering unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
"As international sanctions have become increasingly stifling, Iran has resorted to criminal money laundering techniques, moving its oil and money under false names and pretenses," said David S. Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at Treasury.
The measures are the latest by Washington to crack down on Iran's nuclear program. U.S. and European sanctions on Iran's oil industry aim to choke funding for its nuclear program, which the West says is being used to develop weapons. Iran says the program is for civilian purposes.
The sanctions have slashed Iran's oil exports, devalued its currency, and pushed up inflation.
Based in the United Arab Emirates, Zanjani is the chairman of the Sorinet Group, a group of companies and banks. He told Reuters late last year his network did not work for Tehran after the European Union forbade companies and individuals from...