National Security

Trump Works to Disrupt Iranian Weapons Smuggling Operation With New Sanctions

Steven Mnuchin / Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday issued new sanctions to disrupt a weapons smuggling operation run by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the country's elite military group.

The new sanctions target Amir Dianat, "a longtime associate of senior officials" of the IRGC, according to the Treasury Department. Dianat is accused of running "efforts to generate revenue and smuggle weapons abroad."

Sanctions also have been levied on Taif Mining Services, a company run by Dianat that the Treasury Department says violated "sanctions and money laundering laws." A concurrent criminal lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia alleging "that approximately $12 million is subject to forfeiture as funds involved in these crimes and as assets of a foreign terrorist organization."

The sanctions are part of the latest effort by the Trump administration to "enforce and expand" its maximum pressure campaign on Iran, as the Washington Free Beacon reported earlier this week. More sanctions are likely to be issued as the administration works at the United Nations to ensure an embargo on Iran's purchase of advanced military equipment is not lifted later this year.

"The Iranian regime and its supporters continue to prioritize the funding of international terrorist organizations over the health and well-being of the Iranian people," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "The United States remains committed to working with financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and international partners to facilitate humanitarian trade and assistance to the Iranian people."

Information provided by the Treasury Department indicates that Dianat and his company worked with IRGC officials to ship weapons and missiles across the region. The IRGC's Quds Force "relied on Dianat to secure entry for vessels carrying IRGC-QF shipments and has used his business connections to facilitate logistics requirements." This includes shipping weapons to Yemen, where Iranian-backed terror forces are stationed.

The Trump administration issued similar sanctions in late 2019 on an Iranian shipping network that smuggled "lethal aid from Iran to Yemen" on behalf of the IRGC. Earlier this year, the administration designated 20 Iran- and Iraq-based companies for their work with the IRGC.