The U.S. sanctioned an Iranian venture capital firm on Wednesday that the Treasury Department said invests in cyberspace and information technology.
Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control identified the firm, Barkat Ventures, as an arm of an organization that the supreme leader of Iran controls called EIKO, short for Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order. The sanctions also targeted a second Komeini-controlled organization, Astan Quds Razavi.
Barkat Ventures has a small profile outside Iran. An apparent company website cites its desire to invest in technologies such as the internet of things, electronic health, cryptocurrency and software as a service.
Its overall goal is to reduce barriers for entrepreneurs in “knowledge-based” businesses, according to the website.
“We seek to help those who set foot in this harsh and holy path to hopefully move towards the destination, and the rocks and livestock of the route will not stop them moving,” the website states.
Treasury made no specific allegations against Barkat other than being part of EIKO, which the department accused of other misdeeds besides enriching Khomeini. Barkat Ventures is designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, EIKO.
“EIKO has systematically violated the rights of dissidents by confiscating land and property from opponents of the regime, including political opponents, religious minorities, and exiled Iranians, while, according to its leader Mohammad Mokhber, being tasked by the Supreme Leader to implement a ‘resistance economy,’” the department said.
EIKO carries out many of its investments through the Tadbir Economic Development Group, a large organization that is one of EIKO’s main holding companies.
EIKO is a business juggernaut under the direct supervision of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that has a stake in nearly every sector of the Iranian economy, including energy, telecommunications, and financial services. EIKO has systematically violated the rights of dissidents by confiscating land and property from opponents of the regime, including political opponents, religious minorities, and exiled Iranians, while, according to its leader Mohammad Mokhber, being tasked by the Supreme Leader to implement a “resistance economy.”.
The apparent Barkat Ventures website boasts the equivalent of more than $9 billion U.S. dollars in investments.
According to their official website their strategic partners are:
1. Vice Presidency for Science and Technology
– The Vice Presidency for Science and Technology can be considered as the most recent institutions of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in the field of scientific progress and development, which was established in 2006 and approved by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in order to support and strengthen the scientific and research activities of the country’s elites
2. Islamic Azad University
– Islamic Azad University, as one of the largest educational and research centers in the country, can play a significant role in the development of new business ecosystems.
3. Parsian electronic commerce
– The company is active in the Entrepreneurship Environment as the arm of the Parsian Bank, which has already invested in the startup of PIDU (in the field of gasoline) and some Fintec start-ups.
4. Barekat Foundation
– Formation of a joint fund “Rooyesh Barekat” with the aim of investing in business projects in deprived areas;
5. Mobin Electronics Development of Iran Company
6. Barekat Pharmaceutical Company
7. Stars fund of fund
– Stars Wealth Investment Fund (Stars Fund of Fund) was registered in the capital market on 07/07/2019 by receiving a license from the Stock Exchange and Securities Organization (Saba) with registration number 11675 as the first country fund of fund.
The Stars Fund of Fund has been established with the participation of the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s order, the Vice President for Science and Technology and the Islamic Azad University. Kowsar Economic Organization, Imam Khomeini Relief Committee Economic Complex, Razavi Economic Organization, Iran Mobile Communications Company (Hamrah Aval), Etemad Development Company are the investors of this fund who have confirmed their participation by investing in the underwriting period. The main activity of this fund is investing in various types of investment funds licensed by the Exchange Organization and participating in their establishment.
8. Bahman Entrepreneurship Development Company
– Bahman Entrepreneurship Development Company has been formed as an active micro-vc in the country’s Entrepreneurship ecosystem. The experience of the management team of this micro-VC during the management of various teams and businesses in a variety of technology fields has now become one of the main, reliable and steady ecosystem players. Bahman Company is part of the company’s resources for investing in industrial and software projects.
– Davin Ventures
– Maana Ventures
– Stars wealth management
– 100 Startups
– Amen Capital Company
– Bahman Capital Company
Working with entities mentioned previously may harm your business future. Persons or entities that engage in transactions will be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action. Working with entities mentioned previously means supporting Iranian Regime, Regime Terrorist Activities & development of WMD.