(02/13/2019) – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated an Iran-based entity that organizes international conferences that supported the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force’s (IRGC-QF’s) efforts to recruit and collect intelligence from foreign attendees, including U.S. persons, and four associated individuals. OFAC also designated a separate Iran-based entity and five associated individuals involved in the targeting of current and former U.S. government and military personnel as part of a malicious cyber campaign to gain access to and implant malware on their computer systems.

“Treasury is taking action against malicious Iranian cyber actors and covert operations that have targeted Americans at home and overseas as part of our ongoing efforts to counter the Iranian regime’s cyber attacks,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “Treasury is sanctioning New Horizon Organization for its support to the IRGC-QF. New Horizon hosts international conferences that have provided Iranian intelligence officers a platform to recruit and collect damaging information from attendees, while propagating anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. We are also sanctioning an Iran-based company that has attempted to install malware to compromise the computers of U.S. personnel.”

OFAC closely coordinated designations with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has separately released details regarding a law enforcement action it took against a number of the persons designated today.

International Conferences Supporting IRGC-QF Intelligence Operations: New Horizon Organization and Associated Individuals

New Horizon Organization hosts international conferences that serve as a platform for the IRGC-QF to recruit and collect intelligence from attendees. Conference organizers have served as conduits for contact between the IRGC-QF and U.S. persons. Several New Horizon Organization-sponsored conferences have been held in the past few years in Iraq and Iran, where recruitment and collection efforts were made. These anti-Western conferences propagate anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories, including Holocaust denial.

OFAC also designated four Iranian individuals affiliated with New Horizon Organization. Gholamreza Montazami, New Horizon Organization’s founder and Executive Director, and Hamed Ghashghavi, New Horizon Organization’s Secretary for International Affairs, have collaborated with IRGC circles to organize regime-sponsored New Horizon Conferences. Nader Talebzadeh Ordoubadi, New Horizon Organization’s Chairman, and Zeinab Mehanna Talebzadeh, who serves as the Chairman’s special assistant, have facilitated New Horizon Conferences.

Malicious Cyber Campaign Targeting U.S. Personnel: Net Peygard Samavat Company and Associated Individuals

Iran-based Net Peygard Samavat Company aka Net Peygard (In Sec) Company and several associated actors were involved in a malicious cyber campaign to gain access to and implant malware on the computer systems of current and former counterintelligence agents.

Behzad Mesri, a Net Peygard Samavat Company corporate officer, was involved in the purchase of multiple servers. Behzad Mesri previously was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694 on March 23, 2018, for his role in the targeting and attempted extortion of a U.S. media and entertainment company.

Hossein Abbasi, aka Hossein Alavi, acting as a manager of the Net Peygard Samavat Company, provided technical support to an official in the IRGC-Counterintelligence Organization.

Hossein Parvar, a Net Peygard Samavat Company-affiliated actor, has provided a group affiliated with Iran’s Ministry oflntelligence and Security (MOIS) with names, websites, email addresses, and U.S. person data. The MOIS was designated pursuant to E.O.s 13224, 13553, and 13572 on February 16, 2012.

Mojtaba Masoumpour tested malware and gathered information on potential targets and networks for intrusion operations to be carried out by Net Peygard Samavat Company.

Milad Mirzabeygi sent confidential files to Net Peygard Samavat Company senior official Hossein Abbasi.

Mohammad Bagher Shirinkar, aka Mojtaba Tehrani, manager at Net Peygard Samavat Company, has provided technical support to the IRGC-Electronic Warfare and Cyber Defense Organization (EWCD), and directed Net Peygard Samavat Company employees to provide project status reports to senior IRGC-EWCD officials.

Milad Mirzabeygi was designated pursuant to E.O. 13606 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Net Peygard Samavat Company.

Behzad Mesri, Hossein Abbasi, Hossein Parvar, and [placeholder for one individual] were designated pursuant to E.O. 13606 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Net Peygard Samavat Company.

Sanctions Implications

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the persons designated today pursuant to E.O. 13224 or that are Iranian persons on OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) could be subject to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through sanctions.

Source » treasury