September 6, 2013 / 5:07 PM / 6 years ago

U.S. sanctions companies, individuals for Iran oil deals

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has placed sanctions on six individuals and four businesses for helping the government of Iran conceal its involvement in global oil deals, the U.S. Treasury said on Friday.

Washington is targeting the network of Seyed Seyyedi, an Iranian businessman who is director of the already-sanctioned Sima General Trading. Treasury also said it applied sanctions on individuals and companies linked to schemes to import Iranian oil into the European Union.

When sanctions are implemented, individuals and companies may be blocked from the U.S. financial system and any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction may be frozen.

“Our sanctions on Iran’s oil sales are a critically important component of maintaining pressure on the Iranian government, and we will not allow Iran to relieve that pressure through evasion and circumvention,” Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said in a statement.

Governments in Europe and the United States hope sanctions will dissuade Tehran from continuing its disputed nuclear work, which they say could lead to the development of bombs. Iran contends its nuclear program is for energy generation and medical research.

According to Treasury, Seyyedi acted on behalf of various Iranian entities such as National Iranian Oil Co and Naftiran Intertrade Co (NICO). In particular, Sima General Trading financed a front company to buy oil tankers on behalf of National Iranian Tanker Co and obscured Iranian ownership of ships capable of carrying roughly $200 million worth of oil.

Meanwhile, it said Reza Parsaei and Seyyed Mohamad Ali Khatibi Tabatabei, directors at NIOC International Affairs Ltd, ran a scheme to deceptively import Iranian oil into the EU that involved two directors of Iranian Oil Co Ltd: Seyed Mohaddes and Mohammed Ziracchian Zadeh.

Treasury said it was also sanctioning AA Energy FZCO, Petro Royal FZE, and KASB International LLC, all based in the United Arab Emirates, for helping Iran. Also, it sanctioned Swiss Management Services Sarl, which is used by NICO, and Mohammad Moinie, who works for Sarl in Switzerland.

Also on Friday, a European Union court ruled the EU should lift sanctions against seven Iranian companies.

Reporting By Lisa Lambert; Editing by Peter Galloway

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