US Sanctions Iran Hezbollah Linked Chinese Companies

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US Sanctions Iran Hezbollah Linked Chinese Companies
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, on Sept. 17, 2021. (Al Drago/Getty Images)

On September 17, the US Treasury sanctioned several Chinese entities and individuals based in China for financing Iran-related terrorist activities.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced Friday on its website that it is sanctioning members of networks in Lebanon and Kuwait that finance the terrorist organisation Hezbollah. In addition, members of international financial facilitators and front company networks that provide financial support to Hezbollah and Iran have been sanctioned by the US.

PCA Xiang Gang Limited, Damineh Optic Limited, China 49 Group Co. Limited, Taiwan Be Charm Trading Co., Limited, and Black Drop Intl Co., Limited are among the sanctioned companies based in Hong Kong.

These companies are owned, controlled, or directed directly or indirectly by Morteza Minaye Hashemi, an Iranian businessman living in China who is also sanctioned. The US government accuses Hashemi of funding the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF).

Hashemi owns a number of businesses in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland. He was assisted by two Chinese nationals, Yan Su Xuan and Song Jing, according to the Treasury Department’s statement. They opened a bank account for Hashemi on his behalf and are nominal owners of the company. Yan also purchased military-civil dual-use products from the United States on Hashemi’s behalf to ship to Iran.

Song owns or controls the two other sanctioned companies, Victory Somo Group (HK) Limited and Yummy Be Charm Trading (HK) Limited. Hashemi has also been in charge of their financing and management.

According to the Treasury Department, the sanctioned individuals and entities’ properties in the United States will be seized, and all transactions with them will be prohibited.

According to the department, Hashemi used his access to the international financial system to launder funds for the IRGC-QF and Hezbollah. Hashemi collaborated with Mohammad Reza Kazemi to launder tens of millions of dollars in foreign exchange and gold sales for the IRGC-QF and Hezbollah.

In response to the new sanctions, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in a statement that Hezbollah used financial network revenues to “fund terrorist activities and to perpetuate instability in Lebanon and throughout the region.”

Blinken urged governments around the world to take steps to prevent Hezbollah and other terrorist organisations from gaining access to financial institutions.

“The United States will not back down from targeting these networks, and we will continue to take action to disrupt their activities,” Blinken said.

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