Iran’s IRGC officers added to terror lists
LONDON - The United States and Saudi Arabia, along with five other Arab Gulf countries of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre (TFTC), announced sanctions on individuals with links to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Iran.
The sanctions were made public October 23 during US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s visit to Riyadh, where he met with Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) officials.
“Today, the seven member nations of TFTC took significant actions to expose and disrupt Taliban actors and their Iranian sponsors that seek to undermine the security of the Afghan government,” a statement by the US Treasury said, adding that the TFTC designated nine individuals associated with the Taliban, including those facilitating Iranian support for the group.
The statement said Iran’s providing military training, financing and weapons to the Taliban was another example of Tehran’s regional meddling and support for terrorism.
“The United States and our partners will not tolerate the Iranian regime exploiting Afghanistan to further [its] destabilising behaviour,” the statement added.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait added to their terror lists high-ranking members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including al-Quds Force commander, Major-General Qassem Soleimani and senior officers Hamed Abdollahi and Abdul Reza Shahlai.
The list includes Mohammed Ibrahim Awhadi, Ismail Radwi, Abdullah Samad Farouqi, Mohammed Dawoud Muzmal, Abdurrahim Manan, Mohammed Naim Barich, Abdul Aziz Shah Zamani, Sadr Ibrahim and Hafiz Abdul Majid.
Iran made its first official statement regarding the investigation into the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul following the announcement of the new sanctions, three weeks after Khashoggi was last seen.
“Saudi Arabia is in a quagmire it cannot easily come out of,” Iran’s Mehr news agency quoted Brigadier-General Esmail Kowsari, IRGC deputy security chief, as saying. “Saudi rulers are trying to distract the world and the region from the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist, in their consulate in Turkey.”
Iranian President Hassan Rohani issued a statement saying the killing of Khashoggi was done with backing from the United States.
“I don’t think that any country would dare do such a thing without US backing,” Rohani said in remarks to cabinet broadcast on state television, Agence France-Presse reported.
Matters are about to get worse for Iran with US sanctions on Iran’s oil sector to take effect November 4, with the goal of cutting its oil sales to zero. Riyadh is expected to offset the drop in Iranian sales.
“We have to continue to monitor the market over the next two to three months, in January and beyond,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said during the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.
“We will decide if there are any disruptions from supplies and especially with Iran sanctions looming. Then we will continue with the mindset we have now, that is to meet any demand that materialises and ensure that customers are satisfied,” he said.
The TFTC was established in 2017 and includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the United States. Its mission statement tasks the group with identifying, tracking and sharing information regarding terrorist financial networks; coordinating joint disruptive actions; and pursuing capacity building assistance to counter terrorist financing threats.