Administration slaps sanctions on Iranian firm

September 10, 2008 10:54:14 AM PDT
The Bush administration on Wednesday slapped financial sanctions on a major Iranian shipping line and its affiliates for allegedly helping to transfer military-related arms and cargo. The departments of State and Treasury announced the action against the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, also known as IRISL, and 18 of its affiliates for providing logistical services to Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, which controls Iran's ballistic missile research, development and production activities.

The action means that any bank accounts or other financial assets belonging to the company that are found in the United States are frozen. Americans also are forbidden from doing business with the company and its affiliates.

It marks the latest effort to tighten the financial noose on Iran, which the United States accuses of bankrolling terrorism and seeking a nuclear bomb.

The United States alleges that the Iranian shipping company facilitated shipments of "military-related cargo" destined for Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics. The United States alleges the company falsified documents to conceal its cargo.

"Not only does IRISL facilitate the transport of cargo for U.N. designated proliferators, it also falsifies documents and uses deceptive schemes to shroud its involvement in illicit commerce," Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrrorism and financial intelligence said in a statement.

"IRISL's actions are part of a broader pattern of deception and fabrication that Iran uses to advance its nuclear and missile program," he claimed.