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US adds nine to Iran sanctions blacklist

WASHINGTON: The United States named nine individuals and entities to its Iran sanctions blacklist Tuesday, most of them for helping Tehran obtain US banknotes worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The US Treasury named five men from Iran and other countries, and Dubai-based company Belfast General Trading, for sanctions violations for their efforts to support the Iran government’s acquisition of US currency.

It said Belfast General has converted more than $250 million of Iranian government-held currencies into dollar notes which were then delivered to Tehran.

Also named were an official of already blacklisted, Iran-controlled Asia Bank, involved in a separate operation to ship US banknotes to Tehran from Moscow, and Douran Software Technologies, which the Treasury said helps the Iranian government online monitoring and censorship operations.

Abyssec, an Iranian company which helps the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard in hacking and other online offensive operations, was also blacklisted.

The sanctions forbid Americans from doing business with those on the list and freezes any assets they hold on US territory.

Washington and its allies have placed a tough regime of bans on doing business with the Iran government, its agencies and other institutions to pressure the country to give up its ostensible program to develop nuclear arms.

The Treasury though stressed that the blacklisting of the nine was related to violating existing sanctions on the country and did not represent new sanctions, currently on hold while negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program continue.

“Although we do not support the imposition of any new nuclear-related sanctions while negotiations are ongoing… we have made clear, by word and deed, that we will continue to enforce our existing sanctions,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen. -AFP

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