Officials debate reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, Austria. 20 June, 2021. (Photo credit: EU Delegation in Vienna/Reuters)
The US Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Iran on 13 August, this time targeting officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force. The sanctions also target an Omani citizen named Mahmood Rashid Amur al-Habsi and a network of businesses – two based in Oman, one based in Liberia and one based in Romania.
Al-Habsi in particular is accused of partnering with senior Quds Force officials to “facilitate shipments of Iranian oil to foreign customers, including buyers in East Asia.”
“As part of his oversight of shipping operations, Al-Habsi has tampered with the automated identification systems that are onboard vessels, forged shipping documents, and paid bribes, circumventing restrictions related to Iran,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also issued a statement claiming the Quds Force used revenues from sales of Iranian oil to fund its “malign activities.”
The administration of US President Joe Biden claims that it seeks a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally chose to end the agreement in 2018 and started a so-called “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Tehran. In response, Iran recommenced the development of its nuclear capabilities without restrictions.
Several rounds of negotiations in Vienna have so far failed to revive the JCPOA this year. Meanwhile, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has warned that any new deal has to first respect the rights of the Islamic Republic.