US sanctions Iranian deputy commander, Houthi member and ships that transport Iranian oil

The U.S. says the Hong Kong-registered Kohana Co. Ltd. has shipped over $100 million in Iranian commodities to businesses in China on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Defense

U.S. Department of Treasury
The exterior of the U.S. Department of Treasury building is seen on March 13, 2023 in Washington, DC.Anadolu Agency (Anadolu Agency)

The U.S. sanctioned a deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a Houthi militant member, firms registered in Hong Kong and the Marshall Islands, along with two ships, including one that transported $100 million in Iranian commodities to China.

Iranian official Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh, and Houthi group member Ibrahim al-Nashiri were hit with sanctions Tuesday.

Hong Kong-registered Kohana Co. Ltd. and Marshall Islands-registered Iridescent Co. Ltd. — which own the Panama-flagged Kohana — were also designated for sanctions. The U.S. says the Kohana has shipped over $100 million in Iranian commodities to businesses in China on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Defense.

Additionally, the U.S. sanctioned Hong Kong-based Cap Tees Shipping Co. Ltd., which owns the Artura, accused of transporting Iranian commodities for the network of previously sanctioned Houthi and Iranian financial facilitator Sa’id al-Jamal. Treasury says the Artura obfuscated its identity by using the name of a different vessel, Sanan II, to complete some of its shipments.

“Iran’s Ministry of Defense is at the forefront of Iran’s destabilizing activities, such as aiding Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and supplying militia groups with weapons that kill U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria,” said Treasury undersecretary Brian Nelson in a statement.

The sanctions block access to U.S. property and bank accounts and prevent the targeted people and companies from doing business with Americans.

Escalation between the U.S., Iran and Houthi militia have increased after a series of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war, as multiple vessels have found themselves in the crosshairs of a single Houthi assault for the first time in the conflict.

The White House last week promised to unveil new sanctions on Iran in retaliation for its arms sales that have bolstered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and threatened a “swift” and “severe” response if Tehran moves forward with selling ballistic missiles to Moscow.

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