Thursday, October 25, 2007

State Department Press Release on Sanctions and Designations

This morning I obtained a copy of the State Department Press Release with comments from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Treasury Henry M. Paulson on the increased US unilateral sanctions against Iran and the designations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Quds. (Click here to download the full statement.)

According to Secretary Rice's statement:
"Many of the Iranian regimes' most destabilizing policies are carried out by two of its agencies: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or the IRGC, and the Quds Force, an arm of the IRGC. Because of the Revolutionary Guard's support for proliferation and because of the Quds Force support for terrorism, acting under U.S. law and consistent with our international obligations, the United States today is designating both of these groups. We are similarly designating three Iranian state-owned banks: Bank Melli and Mellat, for their involvement in proliferation activities, and Bank Saderat as a terrorist financier. We are also designating several additional Iranian individuals and organizations.

"What this means is that no U.S. citizen or private organization will be allowed to engage in financial transactions with these persons and entities. In addition, any assets that these designees have under U.S. jurisdiction will be immediately frozen. These actions will help to protect the international financial system from the illicit activities of the Iranian Government and they will provide a powerful deterrent to every international bank and company that thinks of doing business with the Iranian Government."

Secretary Paulson said:
"The UN Security Council has required member states to freeze the assets of, and prohibit persons from doing business with, a number of entities and individuals supporting Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile activities, including Iran's state-owned Bank Sepah.

"Today, as Condi said, we are designating Iran's Bank Melli, Bank Mellat, and Bank Saderat. These are three of Iran's largest banks. They all have facilitated Iran's proliferation activities for its support of terrorism. We are also designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for proliferation activities and its Quds Force for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

"The IRGC is so deeply entrenched in Iran's economy and commercial enterprises, it is increasingly likely that if you are doing business with Iran, you are doing business with the IRGC. We call on responsible banks and companies around the world to terminate any business with Bank Melli, Bank Mellat, Bank Saderat, and all companies and entities of the IRGC."

The IRGC is being labeled a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction under Executive Order 13382 signed by President Bush on July 28, 2005. Ballistic missiles themselves certainly do not reach the level of weapons of mass destruction. However, Executive Order 13382 covers both “proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.”

The Quds force is being labeled a supporter of terrorism under Executive Order 13224, signed by President Bush on September 23, 2001. Executive Order 13224 provides the Secretaries of State and Treasury, in consultation with each other and the Attorney General, the authority to "designate foreign individuals or entities that he determines have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the U.S."

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