The United States has designated Quds Force, a subsidiary of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as an “international network for oil smuggling and money laundering.”
According to Arab News, the US Treasury Department had reported on Wednesday that the officials of this Iranian network had facilitated the sale of millions of dollars worth of oil to the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.
Brian Nelson, undersecretary of state for terrorism and finance, has said that the United States will continue to enforce sanctions on Iran’s illicit oil trade.
He added that similar sanctions could be imposed on those who buy oil from Iran.
Washington-based Middle East and North Africa expert Roan Al-Rajoula called the sanctions a “significant step”.
He said that with the help of Hezbollah, the oil network had been allowed to operate independently for a long time.
“This is an important step, but the administration should limit Hezbollah and its allies,” he said. Hezbollah, which controls Lebanon’s energy ministry, recently took advantage of Lebanon’s energy problems to gain preferential access to markets for its masters in Tehran.
He said Algeria’s state-owned company Sona Tarak was responsible for sending oil to Lebanon, but its departure has exacerbated the country’s energy problems.
Mount Lebanon’s prosecutor Ghada Aoun has launched a politically motivated operation against Sona Tarak, prompting the Algerian company to leave Lebanon.
According to the prosecutor, Hezbollah used the chaos to gain access to Iran’s energy market in Beirut.