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Today, the United States is designating an international oil smuggling and money laundering network led by businessman Sitki Ayan for providing support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and Lebanese Hizballah, under counterterrorism sanctions authorities.
In partnership with senior IRGC-QF officials, Ayan’s network of companies facilitated shipments of Iranian oil to the People’s Republic of China and Russia. For years, Ayan’s companies have established international sales contracts for Iranian oil with foreign purchasers, arranged shipments of oil, and helped launder the proceeds, obscuring the oil’s Iranian origin and the IRGC-QF’s interest in the sales. These activities were a critical element of the IRGC-QF’s oil smuggling operations.
In addition to Ayan, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is designating four individuals and 26 entities and is identifying one vessel as blocked property, all connected to his sanctions-evasion operations.
The United States will continue to strictly enforce sanctions on the IRGC’s illicit oil sales.