Congress, White House ramp up Iranian pressure
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
August 2nd, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Congress, White House ramp up Iranian pressure

By Jamie Crawford

With a new package of sanctions passed by Congress along with an executive order signed by President Barack Obama earlier this week, the United States is further tightening the screws on Iran amid persistent tension and concern over its nuclear program.

Congress passed legislation Wednesday evening that along with the White House's action "closes loopholes and stops the use of front companies or financial institutions to get around international sanctions," Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said in a statement released after its passage.

The new legislation aims to sanction banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Iran sell its oil by circumventing current sanctions, such as through the reflagging of Iranian ships. It puts virtually all of Iran's energy, financial and transportation sectors under U.S. sanctions.

In addition, the legislation seeks to prevent the return to Iran of any revenue from the purchase of Iranian oil that is legally allowed under existing sanctions.
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Filed under: Congress • Iran • Sanctions • Treasury
New Iran sanctions also hit banks in China, Iraq
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
July 31st, 2012
06:37 PM ET

New Iran sanctions also hit banks in China, Iraq

By Jamie Crawford

President Barack Obama announced new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's oil Tuesday as well as banks in China and Iraq, warning that Tehran faces "growing consequences" for refusing to answer international questions about its nuclear program.

Obama said China's Bank of Kunlun and the Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq "facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars" for Iranian banks already under sanctions.

"By cutting off these financial institutions from the United States, today's action makes it clear that we will expose any financial institution, no matter where they are located, that allows the increasingly desperate Iranian regime to retain access to the international financial system," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said the purpose of additional sanctions was to "affect Iran's calculus" to get Tehran to negotiate seriously over its disputed nuclear program.
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Filed under: China • Iran • Iraq • Sanctions • Treasury
July 18th, 2012
12:50 PM ET

U.S. targets senior Syrian officials and WMD companies

By Jamie Crawford

The United States sanctioned 29 Syrian government officials along with companies linked to Syrian proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.

In a news release, the Treasury Department said the officials included the Syrian ministers of finance and justice as well as the governor of the Central Bank and other members of President Bashar al-Assad's Cabinet who had not been designated.

"Today's actions reflect the unwavering commitment of the United States to pressure the Assad regime to end the carnage and relinquish power," said David S. Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. "As long as Assad stays in power, the bloodshed and instability in Syria will only mount, and we will continue working with our partners in the international community to ensure that the inevitable political transition occurs as rapidly as possible."
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July 12th, 2012
04:10 PM ET

More sanctions for Iran

The United States on Thursday placed additional sanctions on what it called Iran's nuclear proliferation network.

The Treasury Department said 11 companies and four individuals were being from barred doing business with U.S. firms, and it publicly identified what it called front companies involved in Iran's oil trade. The department also identified 20 Iranian financial institutions whose assets are being blocked.

"Iran today is under intense, multilateral sanctions pressure, and we will continue to ratchet up the pressure so long as Iran refuses to address the international community's well-founded concerns about its nuclear program," treasury undersecretary David Cohen said in a news release.

Thursday's actions also were aimed at disrupting the front companies that Iran uses to sell and move its oil, he said. FULL POST


Filed under: Iran • Sanctions • Treasury
U.S. targets terrorist fundraisers in South America
The U.S. Treasury Department made the anouncement of sanctions on Wednesday
June 27th, 2012
05:47 PM ET

U.S. targets terrorist fundraisers in South America

By Jamie Crawford

The United States on Wednesday designated a Colombian national as a terrorist for his alleged role directing fund-raising activities in the Americas on behalf of Hezbollah, a U.S. designated terrorist organization.

In addition, the Treasury Department also designated four individuals and three entities for their purported role in laundering money for Ayman Joumaa, an alleged drug trafficker and money-launderer currently under indictment by a U.S. federal court.

"The Joumaa network is a sophisticated multi-national money-laundering ring, which launders the proceeds of drug trafficking for the benefit of criminals and the terrorist group Hizballah," David S. Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial Intelligence, said in a written statement. "We and our partners will continue to aggressively map, expose and disable this network, as we are doing with today's sanctions."

Ali Mohamad Saleh, a Lebanese Colombian national, was designated as a "specially designated global terrorist" for his role directing Hezbollah's fund-raising activities in the Americas, Treasury said in a press release. Previously designated under separate sanctions for his role as a money-launderer for other organizations, Saleh solicited donations for Hezbollah from Colombian business owners and residents, and coordinated the transfer of those funds via Venezuela to Hezbollah's base in Lebanon. He also maintained communication with suspected Hezbollah operatives in Venezuela, Germany, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia the Treasury Department said.
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U.S. sticking with 'Plan A' for Syria
Joint UN-Arab envoy to Syria Kofi Annan (L) during a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the presidential palace in Damascus on May 29, 2012.
May 30th, 2012
01:14 PM ET

U.S. sticking with 'Plan A' for Syria

By Jamie Crawford

With the situation in Syria seemingly deteriorating by the day, the United States is doing what it can to pressure Bashar al-Assad to step aside, but that goal is nowhere in sight, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

"As it relates to what Plan B is for Syria, we're still on Plan A," Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough said at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar. The event was sponsored by the Brookings Institution.

Following a massacre in the Syrian village of Houla this past weekend that left scores of children and villagers dead, McDonough said the United States continues to support the joint United Nations/Arab League plan, led by Kofi Annan, which is deploying monitors into Syria.

But McDonough acknowledged that simply putting monitors in Syria is not going to stop the carnage.
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Filed under: Assad • Russia • Sanctions • Syria • Treasury • UN Security Council • United Nations
Former Yemeni leader thought to be target of Obama action
Ali Abdullah Saleh (R) addresses a ceremony handing powers over to now President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi (L) in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, on February 27, 2012.
May 16th, 2012
05:31 PM ET

Former Yemeni leader thought to be target of Obama action

By Jill Dougherty

The Obama administration Wednesday fired a major shot across the bow of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, his family and cronies, warning them not to interfere with the transition agreement that helped remove Saleh from office.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order targeting "those who threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen," including by obstructing implementation of the transition agreement.

The new order allows the Treasury Department to freeze U.S.-based assets of anyone who might subsequently be listed under the order. While no specific entity was named, it is widely believed to be aimed at the former president's circle.

At the State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland refused to cite Saleh by name but said the order was "definitely" meant to "send a message to those who are trying to block transition that we have this tool to use against them, and that they should think again about the policies that they are pursuing."
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U.S. Treasury sanctions take aim at al Qaeda, rogue regimes
David Cohen, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
May 10th, 2012
10:26 PM ET

U.S. Treasury sanctions take aim at al Qaeda, rogue regimes

By Jamie Crawford

David Cohen's office has set its sights on a key target since its inception in 2004: drastically reducing al Qaeda's ability to attack and finance its operations.

The results have been clear, the U.S. Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence said Thursday.

The core group of al Qaeda "is in a much weaker state than it was" even two years ago, said Cohen, who oversees U.S. efforts to choke off the funding for bad actors and rogue regimes around the world.

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U.S. targets Syrian defense minister
Syrian Defense Minister General Dawood Rajiha (L) is greeted on board during a visit to the Russian aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, in the port of Tartous in January.
March 30th, 2012
03:15 PM ET

U.S. targets Syrian defense minister

By Jamie Crawford

The United States sanctioned three senior Syrian officials in President Bashar al-Assad's regime Friday as the yearlong violence in the country showed no signs of letting up.

Dawood Rajiha, Syria's defense minister; Munir Adanov, a senior Syrian Army official; and Zuhayr Shalish, the head of presidential security, were targeted in the action announced by the Treasury Department.

"The U.S. and the international community will hold to account those who stand with the Assad regime as it trains the instruments of war against Syrian civilians," David S. Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a written statement. "The time has long since passed for Syrian officials at all levels to turn their backs on this bloody regime."
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Treasury Dept. goes after Iranian arms shippers
March 27th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Treasury Dept. goes after Iranian arms shippers

By Jamie Crawford

The United States sanctioned an Iranian airline, three Iranian officials, a trading company and a shipping agent Tuesday for providing support to an elite Iranian military unit that has already been branded a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

All of the entities sanctioned were involved in the shipments of weapons to the Levant, a collection of countries on the eastern Mediterranean Sea that includes Syria, as well as to Africa, the Treasury Department said in a press release.

They have all assisted Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, the Treasury Department said.

"Today's action again exposes Iran's malign influence in the Middle East, Africa and beyond," David Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in the release. "As the Iranian regime exports its lethal aid and expertise to foment violence in Syria and Africa, Treasury will continue to expose the officials and companies involved and work to hold them accountable for the suffering they cause."
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Filed under: Africa • Iran • Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps • Nigeria • Quds Force • Sanctions • Syria • Treasury
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