A ship of the National Iranian Tanker Company

The US has sanctioned an Iranian-Russian network propping up Syria’s Assad regime with billions of dollars in credit and supplies, including millions of barrels of oil.

The punishment targeted Syrian national Mohammad Amer Alchwiki using his Russia-based company Global Vision Group to ship Iranian oil, with the aid of a Russian state-owned company, to the regime.

The Assad regime transferred hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, an essential military ally, and to the Palestinian faction Hamas, via the Qods Forces of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The US Treasury said that since 2014 vessels carrying Iranian oil switched off transponders to conceal deliveries to Syria.

In addition to Alchwiki, sanctions have been imposed on Syrian national Hajji Abd al-Nasir, Lebanon national Mohammad Qasim al-Bazzal, Russian national Andrey Dogaev, and Iranian nationals Rasoul Sajjad and Hossein Yaghoubi Miab, both Central Bank of Iran officials.

Companies designated include Promsyrioimport, a subsidiary of the Russian Ministry of Energy, which the U.S. Treasury said had facilitated shipments of the Iranian oil; Mir Business Bank; and Iran’s Tadbir Kish Medical and Pharmaceutical Company.

Iran stepped up its vital economic and military support to the Assad regime from 2012, extending a multi-billion-dollar line of credit for purchases that included oil. The Revolutionary Guards developed a 50,000-strong militia, the National Defense Forces, after the depletion of the regime’s armed force. Iran led foreign militias from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and Hezbollah intervened in spring 2013.

The Trump Administratoin imposed comprehensive sanctions on Iran on November 5, seeking to curb Tehran’s activities in the Middle East as well as pursuing regime change in the Islamic Republic.

Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker linked the Syria measures to the wider sanctions campaign:

The Iranian regime continues to prioritize spending money on fomenting terror over supporting its own people. This is yet another example of the regime using the proceeds of millions of barrels of its oil to fund terrorists and the murderous Assad regime to the detriment of its own people.