The US government has imposed sanctions targeting the Chief of the Intelligence Unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other members and affiliates of the IRGC, as well as its foreign operational arms, in connection with transnational terrorism.
These individuals have been accused by Washington of participating in terrorist plots outside of Iran against former US government officials, Iranian American dual citizens, and Iranian dissidents.
The U.S. Treasury Department announced on June 1 through a statement that these sanctions target three individuals located in Iran and Turkey, a company affiliated with the IRGC’s Quds Force, and two senior officials of the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization.
These individuals have played a role in “lethal foreign operations” against non-combatants, including journalists, the U.S. Treasury Department statement adds.
One of the sanctioned individuals is Mohammad Reza Ansari, a longtime member of the Quds Force, is involved in supporting the operations of this force in Syria, according to the U.S. Shahram Poursafi, another Iranian citizen, is also among the sanctioned individuals and has been involved in planning and directing efforts to assassinate former US government officials.
Poursafi had previously been accused by the U.S. Justice Department of conspiring to carry out and funding an international assassination plot.
Furthermore, Hossein Hafez Amini, a dual Iranian and Turkish national based in Turkey, has also been sanctioned. He has used his connections in the Turkish aviation industry and his own airline company, the Turkey-based “Ray Airlines”, for the Quds Forces’ covert operations, including abduction and assassination plots against Iranian dissidents. This company has also come under U.S. sanctions.
The U.S. Treasury Department has also imposed sanctions on two individuals associated with the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization, who have acted as a domestic and an international unit to target journalists, activists, Iranian dual citizens, and those who oppose the regime’s human rights violations.
These two individuals are former IRGC-IO Counterespionage Department Chief Rouhallah Bazghandi, and the IRGC-IO Foreign Intelligence Chief Reza Seraj. Seraj previously served as the head of the Special Operations Unit of the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization and was responsible for a series of unsuccessful operations against Israeli citizens.
Additionally, Bazghandi has been involved in planning plots to assassinate journalists and Israeli citizens in Istanbul.
According to these sanctions, all potential assets of these individuals and the sanctioned company in the U.S. will be frozen, and any dealings with them may result in “secondary sanctions” and penalties for both U.S. and non-U.S. individuals and entities.
“The United States remains focused on disrupting plots by the IRGC and its Qods Force, both of which have engaged in numerous assassination attempts and other acts of violence and intimidation against those they deem enemies of the Iranian regime,” said Brian E. Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
“We will continue to expose and disrupt these terrorist activities and efforts to silence opposing voices, particularly those who advocate for respect for the universal human rights and freedoms of the Iranian people,” Nelson added.
According to a recent report by Freedom House in Washington, the Iranian regime is one of the ten governments in the world that has the highest repression of dissidents abroad.
This regime has also abducted some of its dissidents abroad in recent years and sentenced them to death, and in some cases, these sentences have been carried out.
Furthermore, in recent years, Habib Farajollah Chaab and Jamshid Sharmahd, two dual citizens, were abducted outside of Iran and transferred back to the country. Mr. Chaab was executed some time ago, and the Iranian regime has also promised to carry out the death sentence for Sharmahd.
Moreover, following the killing of former IRGC Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani by the U.S., IRGC commanders have long threatened to assassinate senior Trump administration officials .
The U.S. State Department designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization in 2019, and in recent months, a campaign has been gaining momentum in Europe, the United Kingdom, and Canada to also blacklist the IRGC.
Source » iranfocus