U.S. Treasury Department Sanctions IRGC Oil Smuggling Network

(New York, N.Y.) — The U.S. Treasury Department announced today that it is designating individuals and businesses involved in an international oil smuggling network that supports Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF). The action specifically targets an oil broker from Oman, alleging that it closely partnered with senior IRGC-QF officials to illegally facilitate oil shipments to foreign customers. The Quds Force uses the proceeds of these oil sales to fund terrorist activities abroad.

The IRGC serves as caretaker of Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs and is the key instrument used to suppress Iran’s internal pro-democracy movement. The IRGC-QF plans terrorist attacks worldwide and provides support to insurgents responsible for killing American and NATO troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Historically, crude and natural gas exports account for 25 percent of the Iranian regime’s revenues. U.S. sanctions against Iran’s energy sector, however, have led to a sharp decline in sales. Iranian and non-Iranian vessels have responded by employing sophisticated and brazen methods to hide their movements and evade U.S. sanctions. It is therefore important to accurately track Iran’s oil exports to interpret if sanctions are effectively stopping the flow of revenue to the regime.

Using various sources and methods, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) has caught and catalogued evidence of foreign tankers involved in illegal clandestine operations. In July, eight different foreign-flagged tankers loaded crude oil from Iran. Seven engaged in the alternative evasion technique known as ‘spoofing,’ whereby vessels appear as if they are loading oil in Iraq or Oman – rather than Iran. Consequently, once the importing country receives the oil, it will be registered as Iraqi or Omani origin instead of Iranian. During December, Iran shifted some of its crude oil ship-to-ship (STS) transfers from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. Typically, Iran engages in many STS transfers in the northern section of the Persian Gulf – but this was alarmingly near where a limpet mine was discovered on an Iraqi oil tanker.

To read UANI’s resource Iran Tanker Tracking, please click here.

To read UANI’s July 2021 Iran Tanker Tracking, please click here.

To read UANI’s December 2020 Iran Tanker Tracking, please click here

To read UANI’s IRGC resource, please click here.