عقوبات أميركية على سفير إيران في العراق، ايرج مسجدي، وعلى القياديين بحزب الله نبيل قاووق وحسن البغدادي/US sanctions Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi & two senior Hezbollah officials, Nabil Qaouk & Hassan Baghdadi/7 ملايين دولار مقابل معلومات عن المسؤول في حزب الله سلمان رؤوف سلمان
US sanctions Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi & two senior Hezbollah officials, Nabil Qaouk & Hassan Baghdadi
US places sanctions on Iran’s ambassador to Iraq/The National/23 October/2020
IRGC, five other Iran groups sanctioned for US election interference AFP/Thursday 22 October 2020
*Treasury sanctions Iran’s ambassador to Iraq BY CELINE CASTRONUOVO/The Hill/October 22/2020 *Text of Treasury Department press release: Treasury targets high-ranking Hizballah officials *Text of Treasury Department press release: Treasury sanctions Iranian entities for attempted election interference *Text of Treasury Department press release: Treasury sanctions Iranian Ambassador to Iraq *Iran Targeted by U.S. Over Threats Against Democratic Voters By Jamie Tarabay and Kartikay Mehrotra/Bloomberg/ October 22/2020,
عقوبات أميركية على سفير إيران في العراق، ايرج مسجدي، وعلى القياديين بحزب الله نبيل قاووق وحسن البغدادي.
عقوبات أميركية على القياديين بحزب الله قاووق وبغدادي المدن/23 تشرين الأول/2020
7 ملايين دولار مقابل معلومات عن المسؤول في “حزب الله” سلمان رؤوف سلمان/صوت بيروت انترناشيونال/22 تشرين الأول/2020»
**** عقوبات أميركية على سفير إيران في العراق، ايرج مسجدي، وعلى القياديين بحزب الله نبيل قاووق وحسن البغدادي. دبي – العربية.نت/ 23 تشرين الأول/2020 أعلنت وزارة الخزانة الأميركية مساء الخميس فرض سلسلة من العقوبات على مؤسسات ومسؤولين على صلة بإيران. وفرضت واشنطن عقوبات على سفير إيران في بغداد ايرج مسجدي، معتبرةً أن “تعيين عضو في الحرس الثوري الإيراني كسفير في بغداد يُعد تهديداً لأمن العراق”. وقالت واشنطن إن مسجدي أشرف على مدى سنوات على تدريب ودعم فصائل عراقية مسلحة مسؤولة عن هجمات على القوات الأميركية وقوات التحالف في العراق. وقالت وزارة الخزانة الأمريكية في بيان “بصفته الحالية، استغل مسجدي منصبه باعتباره سفير النظام الإيراني في العراق للتغطية على تحويلات مالية أجريت لصالح فيلق القدس التابع للحرس الثوري الإيراني”. وتعليقاً على الموضوع، قال وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو إن معاقبة سفير إيران خطوة لحماية العراقيين من نفوذ الحرس الثوري الخبيث، مؤكداً أن سفير إيران يدعم أنشطة الحرس الثوري الخبيثة في العراق لسنوات عدة. وأضاف بومبيو: “سفير طهران قدم الدعم للميليشيات العراقية وسهل معاملاتها المالية.. واستغل موقعه الدبلوماسي لتسهيل تحويل أموال للميليشيات العراقية”. كما أشرف السفير الإيراني، بحسب بومبيو على برنامج تدريب ودعم الميليشيات العراقية، ودعم الميليشيات العراقية المسؤولة عن هجمات ضد القوات الأميركية. كما فرضت الإدارة الأميركية عقوبات على قياديين اثنين في حزب الله اللبناني، هما نبيل قاووق وحسن البغدادي. كذلك فرضت واشنطن عقوبات على مؤسسات إيرانية “تحاول التدخل في الانتخابات الأميركية”. وقالت وزارة الخزانة الأميركية في بيان إن “النظام الإيراني استهدف العملية الانتخابية في الولايات المتحدة بمحاولات وقحة لبث التفرقة بين الناخبين من خلال نشر معلومات مضلّلة عبر الإنترنت وتنفيذ عمليات تأثير خبيثة لتضليلهم”.وأضافت أن “كيانات تابعة للحكومة الإيرانية، متنكرة بهيئة وسائل إعلام، استهدفت الولايات المتحدة بغية تقويض العملية الديموقراطية الأميركية”.
عقوبات أميركية على القياديين بحزب الله قاووق وبغدادي المدن/23 تشرين الأول/2020 فرض مكتب مراقبة الأصول الأجنبية في وزارة الخزانة الأميركية عقوبات على عضوين في المجلس المركزي لحزب الله، نبيل قاووق وحسن بغدادي. والمجلس المركزي مسؤول عن تحديد وانتخاب أعلى هيئة لصنع القرار في المنظمة، مجلس الشورى، الذي يصيغ القرارات السياسية ويؤكد السيطرة على أنشطة حزب الله المختلفة، بما فيها الأنشطة العسكرية. ووضع المكتب كلاً من نبيل قاووق وحسن بغدادي على لوائح العقوبات، لكونهما قادة أو مسؤولين في حزب الله. وقال وزير الخزانة الأميركي، ستيفن منوتشين، إنّ “كبار قادة حزب الله مسؤولون عن إنشاء وتنفيذ أجندة المنظمة الإرهابية المزعزعة للاستقرار، والمسؤولة عن العنف ضد مصالح الولايات المتحدة وشركائنا في جميع أنحاء العالم”. وتابع موتشين مؤكداً على “وجوب الاستمرار في تحميل حزب الله المسؤولية عن أفعاله المروّعة مع اقترابنا من الذكرى 37 لقصف حزب الله لثكنات مشاة البحرية الأميركية في بيروت”. وتم وضع القاووق وبغدادي على لوائح العقوبات بناءً على الأمر التنفيذي رقم 13224 الذي يستهدف الإرهابيين وقادة ومسؤولي الجماعات الإرهابية، وأولئك الذين يقدّمون الدعم للإرهابيين أو للأعمال الإرهابية. وهما مسؤولان قياديان في حزب الله تم حظر الممتلكات والمصالح الخاصة بهما. نشاط قاووق ودائماً، حسب الوزارة الأميركية: يشغل قاووق منصباً في المجلس التنفيذي لحزب الله الذي يشرف على الأنشطة الاجتماعية والاقتصادية للحزب، فضلاً عن مجلسه المركزي. وفي السنوات الأخيرة، تحدث علنًا باسم حزب الله وهدد بالحرب ضد إسرائيل وهاجم حضور الولايات المتحدة في المنطقة، مشيداً باستخدام الحزب حرب العصابات التي تؤدي إلى ضرب الأمن في لبنان. كما ألقى قاووق خطابات باسم الحزب في مناسبات مختلفة، منها تشييع قتلى الحزب بمن فيهم القائد السابق لوحدة العمليات الخارجية فيه عماد مغنية، والقائد السابق لفيلق القدس في الحرس الثوري الإيراني قاسم سليماني. وكلا الأخيرين مسؤول عن مقتل عدد لا يحصى من الأميركيين. وتم عام 2001، إدراج اسم مغنية على لوائح العقوبات لعلاقته بحزب الله، وتم إدراج اسم سليماني على اللوائح في تشرين الأول 2011 لنشاطه في الحرس الثوري. نشاط بغدادي بغدادي، يعرّف عن نفسه بشكل علني أنه مسؤول في حزب الله، كما مثل حزب الله وتحدث باسمه في مناسبات مختلفة، مشيداً في خطابات عدّة بالأمين العام لحزب الله حسن نصر الله وباستهداف الحزب للأميركيين. وعام 2020، شارك البغدادي في ندوة في لبنان أشاد خلالها بالحرس الثوري وبمقاتليه في سوريا والعراق لمهاجمتهم القواعد العسكرية الأميركية. وقام مكتب مراقبة الأصول الأجنبية وأعضاء من مركز استهداف تمويل الإرهاب (TFTC) بتصنيف نصر الله في أيار 2018 لعمله لصالح حزب الله أو نيابة عنه، وهو يترأس الحزب منذ عام 1992. وقد أدرج مكتب مراقبة الأصول الأجنبية سابقاً، في كانون الثاني 1995، اسم نصر الله على لوائح العقوبات لتهديده بتعطيل عملية السلام في الشرق الأوسط. كما تم تصنيفه على اللوائح أيضاً في أيلول 2012 لتقديمه الدعم لنظام بشار الأسد. عام 2015، حضر بغدادي احتفالاً في طهران، مع (نائب أمين عام حزب الله) نعيم قاسم والعديد من كبار المسؤولين الآخرين في الحزب، كشف خلاله قاسم عن كتابه وأثنى على حرب حزب الله مع إسرائيل. وقد أدرج مكتب مراقبة الأصول الأجنبية ومركز استهداف تمويل الإرهاب قاسم على لوائح العقوبات في أيار 2018 لعمله لصالح حزب الله أو بالنيابة عنه. ومركز استهداف تمويل الإرهاب هو مبادرة بين الولايات المتحدة والمملكة العربية السعودية ومملكة البحرين ودولة الكويت وسلطنة عمان ودولة قطر والإمارات العربية المتحدة يهدف إلى مواجهة تمويل الإرهاب. العقوبات تستمرّ وزارة الخزانة في إعطاء الأولية لتعطيل نشاط حزب الله المالي غير المشروع، فتم منذ 2017 فرض العقوبات على 90 فرداً وكياناً تابعين للحزب. واتّخذ مكتب مراقبة الأصول الأجنبية هذه الإجراءات وفقاً للأمر التنفيذي رقم 13224 بصيغة المعدّلة الذي تستهدف الإرهابيين ومن يقدّمون الدعم لهم ولأعمالهم الإرهابية. وضعت وزارة الخارجية الأميركية حزب الله على لائحة المنظمات الإرهابية الأجنبية عام 1997، كما تمّ تصنيفه عام 2001 منظمة إرهابية عالمية. وبفعل الإجراءات المفروضة اليوم، يتم حظر جميع ممتلكات ومصالح الأفراد المذكورين أعلاه في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. أي كيانات مملوكة منهما بشكل مباشر أو غير مباشر، بنسبة 50% أو أكثر من قبلهم، بشكل فردي، أو مع أشخاص محظورين آخرين، حظرت على الأراضي الأميركية. وتحظر لوائح مكتب مراقبة الأصول الأميركية جميع المعاملات الصادرة عنها أو الواردة عنها، ما لم يكن مصرحًا به بموجب ترخيص عام أو خاص صادر عن المكتب. ويشمل الحظر أيضاً تقديم أي مساهمة أو أموال أو سلع أو خدمات من قبل أو لصالح الأفراد المذكورين. والانخراط في أي معاملات أو خدمات مع هؤلاء الأفراد يترتّب عليه مخاطر فرض عقوبات ثانوية (من الدرجة الثانية) على الجهات أو الأشخاص الذي يقدمون على ذلك، وفق القرار نفسه رقم 13224 ووفق لوائح العقوبات المالية على حزب الله، وبموجب قانون حظر التمويل الدولي لحزب الله (2015) وقانون تعديلات منع التمويل الدولي للحزب (2018). وعملاً بهذه السلطات، يمكن لمكتب مراقبة الأصول الأجنبية حظر أو فرض شروط صارمة على فتح أو الاحتفاظ بحساب مراسل أو حساب مستحق الدفع من قبل مؤسسة مالية أجنبية تسهّل عن قصد التعامل مع حزب الله أو لصالح منظمة إرهابية، أو أي شخص يتصرف نيابة عن أو بتوجيه من حزب الله.
7 ملايين دولار مقابل معلومات عن المسؤول في “حزب الله” سلمان رؤوف سلمان/صوت بيروت انترناشيونال/22 تشرين الأول/2020» عمّم برنامج “مكافآت من اجل العدالة” التابع لوزارة الخارجية الأميركية في صفحته عبر موقع التواصل الاجتماعي “تويتر” صورة سلمان رؤوف سلمان المسؤول في الجهاز الخارجي لحزب الله. وجاء في التغريدة “سلمان رؤوف سلمان مسؤول في الجهاز الخارجي لـ #حزب_الله_اللبناني ومعروف بدوره في بتفجير جمعية أرجنتينية-إسرائيلية سنة 1994 حيث قتل العشرات من المدنيين… قد تحصل على مكافأة تصل لـ7 ملايين دولار لمعلومات عن هذا الإرهابي، اتصل بنا عبر #سكنال أو #تلغرام أو #واتساب على 0012022941037”. وجاء في الصورة المرفقة مع التغريدة “سلمان هو مسؤول كبير في جهاز الامن الخارجي التابع لحزب الله اللبناني حيث نسق انشطة خلايا الحزب النائمة على الحدود بين الارجنتين والبرازيل وباراغواي، كما اشرف على تفجير الجمعية الارجنتينية الاسرائيلية المشتركة في بوينس ايريس والذي قتل 85 شخصاً يوليو-تموز 1994. ساعدنا في احضار هذا القاتل للعدالة! اذا كان لديك معلومات تؤدي الى موقع هذا الارهابي او هويته يرجى الاتصال ببرنامج المكافآت من أجل العدالة عبر تطبيقات سيكنال او تلغرام او واتساب وقد تحصل على مكآفأة.
US places sanctions on Iran’s ambassador to Iraq/The National/23 October/2020 Envoy to Baghdad is also a general in the IRGC overseas operations branch The Trump administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iraj Masjedi, a general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ overseas operations branch and Iran’s ambassador to Iraq. The US Treasury Department accused Gen Masjedi, a leader in the IRGC’s Quds Force, of having direct ties with Iraqi militias. Washington also imposed sanctions on Hezbollah figures and Iranian bodies. “Masjedi has overseen a programme of training and support to Iraqi militia groups, and he has directed or supported groups that are responsible for attacks that have killed and wounded US and coalition forces in Iraq,” the department said. It also accused him of enabling financial transfers on behalf of the IRGC from the time it was under the leadership of Qassem Suleimani, who was killed by a US drone strike in Baghdad in January, until now. The department said Gen Masjedi organised the transfers with the help of the Quds Force’s finance manager Hushang Allahdad, under the directions of Suleimani and his successor, Esmail Ghaani. It said that most recently, Gen Masjedi provided direct assistance in obtaining tens of billions of dinars on behalf of the Revolutionary Guard in Iraq. US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin accused Iran of threatening Iraq’s security. “The Iranian regime threatens Iraq’s security and sovereignty by appointing IRGC-QF officials as ambassadors in the region to carry out their destabilising foreign agenda,” Mr Mnuchin said. The US also sanctioned two members of the central council of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. They were Nabil Qaouk and Hassan Al Baghdadi. “The central council is responsible for identifying and electing the group’s highest decision-making body, the Shura Council, which formulates policy and asserts control over all aspects of Hezbollah’s activities, including its military activities,” Mr Mnuchin said. “We must continue to hold Hezbollah accountable for its horrific actions as we approach the 37th anniversary of Hezbollah bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.” The anniversary is on October 23 and Hezbollah has not claimed responsibility for the bombing but is regarded by the US as the culprit. Iranian attempts to influence elections punished. The US also placed sanctions on “five Iranian entities for attempting to influence elections in the US”. They are the IRGC, the Quds Force, Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute, the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union and International Union of Virtual Media. “This administration is committed to ensuring the integrity of the US election system and will continue to counter efforts from any foreign actor that threatens our electoral processes,” Mr Mnuchin said.
US sanctions Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi and two senior Hezbollah officials, Nabil Qaouk & Hassan Baghdadi Joseph Haboush, Al Arabiya EnglishThursday 22 October 2020 The United States Thursday sanctioned Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi and two senior Hezbollah officials, the Department of Treasury announced. “A close adviser to former IRGC-QF Commander Qassem Soleimani, Masjedi played a formative role in the IRGC-QF’s Iraq policy,” a statement from the Treasury Department said. According to the statement, Masjedi has “overseen a program of training and support to Iraqi militia groups, and he has directed or supported groups that are responsible for attacks that have killed and wounded US and coalition forces in Iraq.”As ambassador, the Iranian diplomat conducted financial transfers to benefit the IRGC-QF, the US said. In a separate statement, the Treasury Department said two members of Iran-backed Hezbollah’s Central Council were also sanctioned. “The Central Council is responsible for identifying and electing the group’s highest decision-making body, the Shura Council, which formulates policy and asserts control over all aspects of Hezbollah’s activities, including its military activities,” Treasury said. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin said that the group needed to continue to be held accountable for its “horrific actions as we approach the 37th anniversary of Hezbollah’s bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.”“Hezbollah’s senior leaders are responsible for creating and implementing the terrorist organization’s destabilizing and violent agenda against US interests and those of our partners around the world,” the US official said. Protecting the Iraqi people and restricting Hezbollah’s activities US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the move to sanction Masjedi. “Today, the United States is taking another step to protect the Iraqi people from malign IRGC-QF influence by designating Iraj Masjedi, a senior IRGC-QF general in Iraq who also serves as Iran’s ambassador to Iraq,” he said in a statement. Pompeo said the Iranian diplomat and IRGC general previously admitted to training militias in Iraq and Syria. On the designations of the two Hezbollah officials, Pompeo said the group remains a terrorist threat to the US, its allies and its interests in the Middle East and globally. Pompeo reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to “take action to disrupt Hezbollah’s operations and promote accountability for its terrorist acts.”“All responsible nations must take appropriate steps to restrict Hezbollah’s activities and constrain its influence,” he said, hours after Saad Hariri was designated to form a new government in Lebanon where the group exerts significant power over the political scene.
IRGC, five other Iran groups sanctioned for US election interference AFP/Thursday 22 October 2020 The US Treasury on Thursday slapped new sanctions on five Iranian entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, for what it called “brazen attempts” to interfere with the US election and US voters. The groups have worked to “sow discord among the voting populace by spreading disinformation online and executing malign influence operations aimed at misleading US voters,” the Treasury said. On Wednesday, US officials announced that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information. “Some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran” and Russia, US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said. He added that Iran was sending “spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”
Treasury sanctions Iran’s ambassador to Iraq BY CELINE CASTRONUOVO/The Hill/October 22/2020 he Treasury Department on Thursday announced that it was sanctioning Iran’s ambassador to Iraq for his role in carrying out the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force’s (IRGC-QF) “destabilizing foreign agenda” in Iraq, according to a press release from the department. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets and Control said in the statement that Iraj Masjedi, a general in the Revolutionary Guard, “has directed or supported groups that are responsible for attacks that have killed and wounded U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.” “The Iranian regime threatens Iraq’s security and sovereignty by appointing IRGC-QF officials as ambassadors in the region to carry out their destabilizing foreign agenda,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the press release. “The United States will continue to employ the tools and authorities at its disposal to target the Iranian regime and IRGC-QF officials that attempt to meddle in the affairs of sovereign nations, including any attempts to influence U.S. elections,” Mnuchin added, referring to a Wednesday night announcement from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe that Russia and Iran are behind efforts to sway public opinions related to the 2020 presidential election. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported the sanction in a statement, saying, “for many years, the Iranian regime and its primary tool of regional destabilization, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), have exploited Iraq to advance their own interests at the expense of the Iraqi people.” The designation came as the department also sanctioned two leaders of Hezbollah, the U.S.-designated terrorist organization backed by Iran that operates both a political party and military wing in Lebanon. Mnuchin argued in a statement that Hezbollah Central Council members Nabil Qaouk and Hassan al-Baghdadi “are responsible for creating and implementing the terrorist organization’s destabilizing and violent agenda against U.S. interests and those of our partners around the world.” Treasury argued in its press release that Hezbollah leaders have frequently supported the use of military action against Israel. These actions come amid recent U.S.-brokered talks between Israel and Lebanon to end their decades-long dispute over their maritime border in the Mediterranean Sea. The Trump administration has repeatedly rebuked Iran and the groups it supports as President Trump hopes to reduce the conflicts between Israel and surrounding Arab nations. U.S.-Iran tensions have run particularly high throughout the Trump presidency, especially after the president withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. At the beginning of the year, the two countries appeared to be on the brink of war after Trump ordered a drone strike in Iraq that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Overnight Defense: Trump, Biden set to meet in final debate |… Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over… Iran retaliated with a missile strike on an Iraqi military base housing U.S. troops. More than 100 military personnel suffered brain injuries, but there were no deaths. The Trump administration, however, continues to accuse Iran-backed militias of targeting U.S. interests and personnel in Iraq. Trump has attempted to reimpose all United Nations sanctions that were lifted under the Iran nuclear deal, though the international community has largely rejected the U.S. authority to do so, given Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement.
Text of Treasury Department press release: Treasury targets high-ranking Hizballah officials PRESS RELEASES Treasury Targets High-Ranking Hizballah Officials October 22, 2020 Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two members of Hizballah’s Central Council. The Central Council is responsible for identifying and electing the group’s highest decision-making body, the Shura Council, which formulates policy and asserts control over all aspects of Hizballah’s activities, including its military activities. Specifically, OFAC designated Nabil Qaouk (Qaouk) and Hassan al-Baghdadi (Baghdadi) for being leaders or officials of Hizballah. “Hizballah’s senior leaders are responsible for creating and implementing the terrorist organization’s destabilizing and violent agenda against U.S. interests and those of our partners around the world,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “We must continue to hold Hizballah accountable for its horrific actions as we approach the 37th anniversary of Hizballah’s bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.” Qaouk and Baghdadi were designated under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, leaders or officials of terrorist groups, and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. NABIL QAOUK AND HASSAN AL-BAGHDADI Nabil Qaouk and Hassan al-Baghdadi are leaders or officials of Hizballah, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended. Qaouk has served on Hizballah’s Executive Council, which oversees the group’s social and economic activities, as well as its Central Council. In recent years, he has spoken publicly on behalf of Hizballah, threatening war with Israel, denouncing the U.S. presence in the region, and lauding Hizballah’s use of guerrilla warfare, which serves only to erode security in Lebanon. Qaouk has also delivered speeches on behalf of Hizballah at several ceremonies commemorating deceased Hizballah terrorists, including the former Hizballah External Security Organization chief Imad Mughniyah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) commander Qasem Soleimani, both of whom were responsible for the deaths of countless Americans. Mughniyah was designated in October 2001 for his ties to Hizballah, and Soleimani was designated in October 2011 for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC-QF. Baghdadi, who has publicly identified himself as a Hizballah official, has participated in political events and delivered speeches on behalf of Hizballah. In several speeches, he praised Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and defended Hizballah’s targeting of Americans. In 2020, Baghdadi attended a symposium in Lebanon during which he commended the IRGC and fighters in Syria and Iraq for attacking U.S. military bases. OFAC and members of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC) designated Nasrallah in May 2018 for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah, which he has led since 1992. OFAC previously designated Nasrallah in January 1995 for threatening to disrupt the Middle East peace process and in September 2012 for providing support to the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad. In 2015, Baghdadi attended a ceremony in Tehran, Iran, with Naim Qassem and several other ranking officials, during which Qassem unveiled his book and praised Hizballah’s war with Israel. OFAC and the TFTC designated Qassem, the Deputy Secretary General of Hizballah, in May 2018 for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah. The TFTC is an initiative between the United States, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Kuwait, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, which is designed to counter the financing of terrorism. SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS The Treasury Department continues to prioritize disruption of the full range of Hizballah’s illicit financial activity, and with this action has designated over 95 Hizballah-affiliated individuals and entities since 2017. OFAC took this action pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, leaders or officials of terrorist groups, and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. Hizballah was designated by the Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997 and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to E.O. 13224 in October 2001. As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution of funds, goods or services from any such person. Furthermore, engaging in certain transactions with individuals designated today entails risk of secondary sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, and the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations, which implement the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015, as amended by the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018. Pursuant to these authorities, OFAC may prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account by a foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for Hizballah or on behalf of a designated terrorist group, or a person acting on behalf of or at the direction of, or owned or controlled by, Hizballah.
Text of Treasury Department press release: Treasury sanctions Iranian entities for attempted election interference PRESS RELEASES Treasury Sanctions Iranian Entities for Attempted Election Interference October 22, 2020 WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five Iranian entities for attempting to influence elections in the United States. The Iranian regime has targeted the United States’ electoral process with brazen attempts to sow discord among the voting populace by spreading disinformation online and executing malign influence operations aimed at misleading U.S. voters. Components of the Government of Iran, disguised as news organizations or media outlets, have targeted the United States in order to subvert U.S. democratic processes. “The Iranian regime uses false narratives and other misleading content to attempt to influence U.S. elections,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This Administration is committed to ensuring the integrity of the U.S. election system and will continue to counter efforts from any foreign actor that threatens our electoral processes.” Treasury designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), and Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute (Bayan Gostar) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13848 for having directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU) and International Union of Virtual Media (IUVM) were designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 for being owned or controlled by the IRGC-QF. The IRGC, including the IRGC-QF, has been designated under multiple authorities since 2007. The Iranian regime’s disinformation efforts have targeted a global audience through a variety of covert media organizations. Disinformation campaigns run by the Iranian regime focus on sowing discord among readers via social media platforms and messaging applications, and frequently involve mischaracterizing information. Since at least 2015, Bayan Gostar has served as a front company for IRGC-QF propaganda efforts. In the months leading up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Bayan Gostar personnel have planned to influence the election by exploiting social issues within the United States, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and denigrating U.S. political figures. As recently as summer 2020, Bayan Gostar was prepared to execute a series of influence operations directed at the U.S. populace ahead of the presidential election. IRGC-QF INFLUENCE OPERATIONS IRTVU, a propaganda arm of the IRGC-QF, and IUVM aided Bayan Gostar in efforts to reach U.S. audiences. In addition, IRGC-QF outlets amplified false narratives in English, and posted disparaging propaganda articles and other U.S.-oriented content with the intent to sow discord among U.S. audiences. IUVM also posted conspiracy theories and disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Treasury Department encourages the American people to confirm information received via social media intelligently by going to multiple trusted sources for news and information, particularly when the source or suspected source of the information is from outside the United States. More guidance specific to the U.S. 2020 election and disinformation campaigns can be found here: https://www.cisa.gov/rumorcontrol As a result of today’s designations, all property and interests in property of the persons designated today subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. In addition, foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to, the persons designated today risk exposure to sanctions that could sever their access to the U.S. financial system or block their property and interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction. Additionally, any entities 50 percent or more owned by one or more designated persons are also blocked.
Text of Treasury Department press release: Treasury sanctions Iranian Ambassador to Iraq PRESS RELEASES Treasury Sanctions Iranian Ambassador to Iraq October 22, 2020 Iraj Masjedi, a senior officer in the IRGC-Qods Force, continues to try to destabilize Iraq Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating Iraj Masjedi, a general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq, for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC-QF. A close adviser to former IRGC-QF Commander Qassem Soleimani, Masjedi played a formative role in the IRGC-QF’s Iraq policy. In his decades of service with the group, Masjedi has overseen a program of training and support to Iraqi militia groups, and he has directed or supported groups that are responsible for attacks that have killed and wounded U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. In his current capacity, Masjedi has exploited his position as the Iranian regime’s ambassador in Iraq to obfuscate financial transfers conducted for the benefit of the IRGC-QF. “The Iranian regime threatens Iraq’s security and sovereignty by appointing IRGC-QF officials as ambassadors in the region to carry out their destabilizing foreign agenda,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to employ the tools and authorities at its disposal to target the Iranian regime and IRGC-QF officials that attempt to meddle in the affairs of sovereign nations, including any attempts to influence U.S. elections.” Masjedi is being designated pursuant to the counterterrorism authority Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. The IRGC-QF was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 in 2007 for support to numerous terrorist groups. The IRGC, including its external arm, the IRGC-QF, was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on April 8, 2019. A LONG-RUNNING THREAT TO IRAQI SECURITY Iran’s ambassador to Iraq since 2017, Masjedi has publicly admitted the IRGC-QF’s role in special operations and the training of militia groups in Iraq, Syria, and beyond. He claims credit for organizing and supporting regional militias to advance Iran’s interests throughout the Middle East an enterprise that has spawned untold destruction and corruption, robbing Iraq of a stable, prosperous future. Masjedi has facilitated financial transfers for the benefit of the IRGC-QF in coordination with IRGC-QF financial facilitator Hushang Allahdad, acting at the direction of former IRGC-QF Commander Soleimani and his successor, Esma’il Ghani. Soleimani was designated pursuant to multiple authorities, including E.O. 13224, in 2011, while Allahdad and Ghani were designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Since 2018, Masjedi has helped the IRGC-QF obtain foreign currency in Iraq, in return for equivalent sums that the IRGC-QF in Iran has transferred to relevant entities. Most recently, Masjedi has provided direct assistance in obtaining tens of billions of dinars on behalf of the IRGC-QF in Iraq. In the decades prior to his ambassadorial appointment, Masjedi was a senior figure overseeing IRGC-QF activities in Iraq, which included attacks targeting U.S. and coalition personnel, as well as kidnappings and the assassination of Iraqi provincial officials who sought to curb Iranian influence in Iraq. The IRGC-QF provided training for Iraqi recruits, often inside Iran. The Iraqi recruits hailed from groups loyal to, and supported by, the IRGC-QF, which help maintain Iranian influence in Iraqi politics and security. The IRGC-QF also manufactured and distributed weapons, including explosively formed penetrators, that killed and wounded hundreds during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Masjedi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS All property and interests in property of the individual designated today, subject to U.S. jurisdiction, are blocked, and U.S persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him or the blocked property. In addition, foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to, the individual designated today risk exposure to sanctions that could sever their access to the U.S. financial system or block their property and interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction.
Iran Targeted by U.S. Over Threats Against Democratic Voters By Jamie Tarabay and Kartikay Mehrotra/Bloomberg/ October 22/2020, While the Trump administration often mentioned Iran among cyber-adversaries suspected of seeking to disrupt U.S. elections, the focus had been primarily on China and Russia. Now, the Islamic Republic is emerging as a prime target for President Donald Trump in the final days before the Nov. 3 election over an alleged Iranian email campaign to intimidate voters and incite social unrest. In a public announcement late Wednesday, U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe described Iran’s efforts, elevating the Islamic Republic as a more prominent suspect in efforts to disrupt the American political process. The emails, claiming to be from the right-wing Proud Boys group, threatened Democratic voters with violence if they didn’t change their party affiliation and voted for Trump on election day. Iran was also distributing a video that sought to imply that fraudulent ballots were being mailed from overseas in a bid to interfere with the elections, Ratcliffe said. In addition, Iran and Russia had managed to collect voter registration material, which was available online, and that Tehran used to deploy emails to Americans in an attempt to “convey misinformation,” he said. More from Election Trump Claims Queens as His Hometown at Debate: Campaign Update Get Ready for an Eye-Popping U.S. GDP Number U.S. Businesses Say One Thing on Climate Change, But Their Campaign Giving Says Another Joe Biden Uses Multiple Ads to Keep Message Fresh Google also identified an operation linked to Iran that “sent inauthentic emails to people in the U.S. over the past 24 hours,” a spokesperson said. For Gmail users, spam filters stopped 90% of the approximately 25,000 emails sent, the spokesperson said, suggesting the attack wasn’t particularly effective. But with voters’ nerves already frayed, the administration’s handling of the episode also raises questions. Ratcliffe said the Iranian operation was meant to hurt the president, which is far from clear based on the contents of the video and emails. Cyber-researchers are also wondering what sort of intelligence Ratcliffe unearthed to accuse Iran of meddling within just hours of the spoofing operation. Attributing malicious operations to nation-states typically takes months and years, not hours. Ohad Zaidenberg, lead cyber-intelligence researcher at ClearSky Cyber Security, said he’s still investigating the emails and their origin to understand how the U.S. was able to point the finger at Iran. “We investigated the emails, but didn’t find the link to Iran,” said Zaidenberg, an expert in Iranian cyber-operations. “This attack’s source might be Iran, or other threat actor exploiting Iranians infrastructure.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also questioned Ratcliffe’s conclusions. “I will be very interested to hear what they have to say in a classified briefing because everything we have seen in the public domain has not justified a statement that we heard yesterday,” said Pelosi, at a news conference prior to a closed-door briefing. Afterward, she told reporters, “I think we have to be very careful about any statements coming out from the intelligence community 13 days before the election.” Iranian officials rejected the U.S. allegations. “These accusations are nothing more than another scenario to undermine voter confidence in the security of the U.S. election, and are absurd,” Alireza Miryousefi, a diplomat at the Iranian mission to the United Nations, said in a statement. Cyber researchers with expertise in Iranian politics contend the operation fits Iran’s agenda of supporting the campaign of Democratic challenger Joe Biden. These hackers weren’t trying to scare off Democrats, but instead further vilify Trump’s base, said Paul Prudhomme, cyberthreat intelligence adviser at the cyber-research firm, IntSights. Iran has been turning up its cyber spigot on the Trump administration since it pulled the U.S. out of a multinational nuclear accord with Iran in May 2018. Since then, Treasury Department officers have been targeted by Iranian social engineering campaigns. While Iran’s cyber capabilities pale in comparison to Russia’s, they still aspire to “do to Trump what the Russians did to Hillary Clinton in 2016,” Prudhomme said. Iran is “happy to see disarray and disruption in the U.S.,” said Dr. Sanam Vakil, the deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, a London think tank. “And if it can embarrass America in any way that is a positive thing.” With U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration hampering its military endeavors, Iran sees cyber-attacks as a good way to continue to try to exert influence and have an impact, she said. “As tensions continue this is going to be an area where Iran is going to invest,” she said. Yet even as Ratcliffe said the Iranian campaign sought to damage Trump’s election chances, Vakil said that Iran’s politics aren’t monolithic. The overriding consensus is that a Biden presidency was welcomed, but there are some in the Iranian political establishment who prefer four more years of Trump. “They see him as weakening the U.S., and that sort of weakness is positive for Iran in the Middle East,” she said. “He also appears to be drawing down U.S. influence in the Middle East and that can be billed as another win for Tehran.” Iranian information operations date back at least eight years, said John Hultquist, a senior director at the cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. “They have grown beyond fake news sites and social network activity to elaborate tactics, such as impersonating journalists to solicit videos and interviews and placing op-eds. They have even impersonated American politicians,” he said in an email. The digital feud between the U.S. and Iran dates back to when a devastating digital worm called Stuxnet, first discovered in 2010, crippled an Iranian uranium processing facility. That attack has been attributed by multiple media outlets to the U.S. and Israel. Partly in response, Iranian hackers launched attacks starting in 2011 that overwhelmed the websites of Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and others over a period of months. Since then, state-sponsored hackers have been accused of attacking Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil exporter, in 2012, and a Las Vegas casino in 2014, among other businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere. More recently, U.S. officials and cybersecurity experts have warned that Iran was among a handful of nation states that are intent on trying to disrupt the Nov. 3 election. “Iran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections,” according to an August intelligence assessment. Earlier this month, Microsoft Corp. reported that an Iranian-government linked group of hackers tried to infiltrate email accounts of a U.S. presidential campaign. Other targets of the hackers included current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside of Iran, the company said. — With assistance by Alyza Sebenius, Chris Strohm, and David Wainer