The Iranian regime is more than used to sanctions against it being in place. It has been under sanctions for far longer than not, although the severity has differed over time. It is perhaps for this reason that it is able to find ways around almost all sanctions.
On 5th November, the United States imposed some of the harshest sanctions to date. The Trump administration proved itself to be determined in his maximum pressure campaign on Iran. Well, the sanctions would be extremely debilitating if Iran did not have ways to bypass them.
Iran’s first major tactic to evading sanctions is through financial transactions. A complicated and complex network of front companies and individuals are used to carry out operations that the Iranian regime can’t. The regime relies heavily on the front companies and individuals that facilitate transactions that it is unable to.
The most notable example of this is the scheme that was arranged by Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish national, that saw approximately $100 billion pass through it with the help of Turkish banks. The United States is still investigating the case.
The United States is well aware of the situation and it is allegedly coming up with ways to combat and control this.
The other way in which the Iranian regime is by-passing sanctions is by transporting dual-use goods. This includes technology and commodities that are needed for Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The UN Security Council imposed a resolution that partially banned the provision of technologies and goods that could be used for the country’s nuclear program. To get round that, the regime quite simply used front companies to acquire the goods on its behalf.
These front companies are not just based in the Islamic Republic – they are spread across the whole region, in particularly in the countries bordering Iran. It is estimated that there have been thousands of companies across the Middle East that were used to smuggle and acquire goods for the regime.
The United States has already tried and convicted a number of individuals that were smuggling goods to Iran.
Another way that Iran can bypass sanctions is via illegal ports on its shores that are controlled by the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC facilitates all sorts of illicit behaviour including the illegal trading of oil as well as the smuggling of drugs and weapons.
The IRGC is one of the most powerful organisations in Iran and it is essentially at the head of a major business empire – most of which is concealed. It has proxies across the region that allow the illicit activities to expand beyond the country’s borders.
The United States (and the European Union, for that matter) is aware that all of the above is going on and it is essential for the loopholes to be closed and the backdoors to be shut and removed. The U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports are essential to cut it off from the terrorist activities that the regime funds, but they cannot be fully effective until Iran is unable to bypass them.
Source » ncr-iran