The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today against eight senior commanders of Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). These commanders sit atop a bureaucracy that supervises the IRGC’s malicious regional activities, including its provocative ballistic missile program, harassment and sabotage of commercial vessels in international waters, and its destabilizing presence in Syria.
Today’s designations reinforce the President’s action in issuing an Executive Order imposing sanctions on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the Supreme Leader’s Office. The President’s order will deny Iran’s leadership access to financial resources and authorizes the targeting of persons appointed to certain official or other positions by the Supreme Leader or the Supreme Leader’s Office. Moreover, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this Executive Order could be cut off from the U.S. financial system.
“The United States is targeting those responsible for effectuating the Iranian regime’s destructive influence in the Middle East. IRGC commanders are responsible for the Iranian regime’s provocative attacks orchestrated in internationally recognized waters and airspace, as well as Iran’s malign activities in Syria,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “Treasury will continue to aggressively target the senior leaders and the financial apparatus sustaining this malign activity. This action is a warning to officials at all levels of the IRGC and the rest of the Iranian regime that we will continue to sanction those who export violence, sabotage, and terrorism.”
Overview of Today’s Action
Today’s action targets commanders of the IRGC’s Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces, in addition to the commanders of the IRGC Navy’s (IRGCN) five naval districts. These include the naval district commanders who are responsible for the IRGCN’s activities off the coast of the southern provinces of Khuzestan, Bushehr, and Hormozgan, which lie adjacent to the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
OFAC is designating IRGCN Commander Ali Reza Tangsiri pursuant to E.O. 13224 for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC. As recently as February 2019, Tangsiri threatened that the Iranian regime’s forces would close the Strait of Hormuz, an international waterway, if U.S. sanctions stopped Iran’s oil exports, and that the Iranian regime is prepared to target U.S. interests in the region. As the commander of the IRGCN, Tangsiri sits atop a structure—including those regional IRGCN commanders sanctioned today—that is responsible for the sabotage of vessels in the international waters.
Also designated today pursuant to E.O. 13224 for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC is Amirali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, whose bureaucracy was responsible for downing the U.S. unmanned aircraft on June 20, 2019. Hajizadeh oversees Iran’s provocative ballistic missile program.
OFAC is also designating pursuant to E.O. 13224 Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the IRGC’s Ground Forces, for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC. Under Pakpour’s command, the IRGC Ground Forces have deployed to fight in Syria in support of the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and the brutal Assad regime. In 2017, Pakpour said that the IRGC Ground Forces were in Syria to help the IRGC-QF.
OFAC is also designating the commanders of the IRGCN’s five naval districts pursuant to E.O. 13224 for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC. The IRGC is responsible for the Regime’s destabilizing and provocative naval actions in and around the Strait of Hormuz.
IRGCN commanders of five naval districts designated today are:
- IRGCN 1st Naval District Commander Abbas Gholamshahi
- IRGCN 2nd Naval District Commander Ramezan Zirahi
- IRGCN 3rd Naval District Commander Yadollah Badin
- IRGCN 4th Naval District Commander Mansur Ravankar
- IRGCN 5th Naval District Commander Ali Ozma’i
The IRGC was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 by OFAC on October 13, 2017 and it was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Secretary of State on April 15, 2019.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the individuals designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through sanctions.