U.S. Sanctions Omit Key Firms Linked to Iran’s Armed Forces
Dubowitz and Saeed Ghasseminejad
the Defense of Democracies
United States on Monday sanctioned more
than 700 Iranian entities and individuals for enabling Tehran’s malign
conduct, but it omitted half of the publicly listed firms under the principal
control of the regime’s security forces. Listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE),
these lucrative companies play a major role in financing Iran’s regional
aggression and domestic repression.
Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran owns more than 50 percent of the
shares – or controls more than 50 percent of the seats on the boards of
directors – of 22 TSE-listed companies. These firms encompass a variety of
industries, including finance, energy, construction, automotive, and
telecommunications, among others. Eleven of the 22 companies fall under the
Armed Forces’ general jurisdiction (Table 1); the IRGC, in particular,
controls the rest (Table 2).
Armed Forces includes the Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the regime’s praetorians; the Law
Enforcement Force (LEF) of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the state police; the
Basij, or religious police; the Artesh, or conventional military; the General
Staff of the Armed Forces; and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces
Logistics (MODAFL). Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the
commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, directly appoints the heads of all of
them except the MODAFL. The United States had already designated the IRGC, the
LEF, the Basij, and the MODAFL prior to Monday’s sanctions.
Monday, Washington sanctioned six companies under the Armed Forces’ general
jurisdiction. Treasury had sanctioned two of those six – Ghadir Investment and
Parsian Oil and Gas – before the finalization of the 2015 nuclear deal, which
led to their delisting. Treasury had not previously sanctioned the other four
– Motogen, Sepahan Cement, Shargh Cement, and Kurdistan Cement.
has yet to sanction the remaining five, which they should do in light of their
ties to other firms that Treasury designated on Monday. Pardis Perochemical
Company, Shiraz Petrochemical Company, Tabriz Oil Refinery, and Kermanshah
Petrochemical Industries are subsidiaries of Parsian Oil and Gas, while Ghadir
Investment controls the International Construction Development Company.
respect to the 11 companies under the specific control of the IRGC, Washington
sanctioned two of them – Ansar Bank and Tide Water Middle East – prior to
the nuclear deal. Both remained sanctioned despite the deal, which did not
provide much direct relief to IRGC-backed companies. Last month, Treasury sanctioned three
of the others –
Calcimin, Iran Tractor Manufacturing, and Iran Zinc Mines Developing Company –
financial support to the Basij.
also has never sanctioned the remaining six IRGC-backed firms – Iran Mineral
Products Company, Iran Tractor Foundry Company, Iran Tractor Motors
Manufacturing Company, National Iranian Lead & Zinc, Telecommunication
Company of Iran, and Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran.
United States should resolve these discrepancies by sanctioning all 11 companies
that so far have escaped designation. In so doing, the Trump administration can
ensure that its maximum pressure campaign targets the full spectrum of actors
responsible for facilitating Iran’s malign conduct.