As of mid-2022, a Gulf-based network of individuals and companies were blending and exporting Iranian oil in support of Hizballah and the IRGC-QF. Viktor Artemov, Edman Nafrieh, Rouzbeh Zahedi, and Mohamed El Zein leveraged dozens of companies under their control to conduct the network’s illicit activities. The network used storage units in the Port of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, and blended products of Indian origin with Iranian oil to obfuscate the Iranian origin. The companies then modified or created counterfeit certificates of origin and quality for the blended oil, which was then transferred for sale abroad;
Iranian national Rouzbeh Zahedi (Zahedi) also worked with the network to help transport the Iranian oil abroad and procure funds on behalf of Hizballah and the IRGC-QF. Zahedi used his companies to transfer funds to IRGC-QF and Hizballah members and coordinated activities closely with Mohamed El Zein (El Zein), a Hizballah member who was also part of the oil smuggling network and the son of a high-ranking Hizballah communications director. El Zein used forged invoices for consulting and shipping services from shell companies to hide the origin of financial transactions.
Viktor Artemov, Edman Nafrieh, Rouzbeh Zahedi, and Mohamed El Zein are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, both Hizballah and the IRGC-QF.
Also Known As:
01 Dec 1970
Reason for the color:
» Added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on November 3, 2022 pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, both Hizballah and the IRGC-QF;