April 12, 2013 | Press Release

Treasury Action Targets Network of Banks and Iranian Businessman


Washington, DC — The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) welcomes new sanctions against an Iranian businessman and a network of banks and companies still conducting business with the rogue regime, specifically, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). The sanctions, announced by Department of Treasury on Thursday, are a step toward further crippling the Iranian regime's ability to develop nuclear capabilities. NIOC is the second largest oil company in the world (after the Saudi Arabian Oil Co) and is the gateway for every energy investment in Iran and for the sale of all petroleum products out of Iran. 

NIOC has already been designated by Treasury as a result of the bipartisan efforts of Members of Congress. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ),and former Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) worked with Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) to ensure that final version of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 had the toughest possible provisions targeting NIOC. Similarly on the House side, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and former Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) lead a determined and successful campaign to designate NIOC, which was supported by three quarters of the House of Representatives.

FDD provided two confidential reports to the administration and Congress outlining NIOC’s ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), with hundreds of pages of evidence of these links. These reports were based on both open source research and intelligence obtained from sources inside Iran.

In addition, FDD’s Mark Dubowitz testified before Congress that the National Iranian Oil Company should be sanctioned since it is the “ultimate IRGC front company involved with every oil trade.” Dubowitz added “this action targets the oil-related payments that are essential to Iran's ability to replenish its dwindling foreign exchange reserves. Nuclear physics continues to beat Western economic pressure while a diplomatic resolution looks more remote given Iranian intransigence.” 

The new sanctions also target Babak Zanjani, chairman of Sorinet Group. Sorinet is a network of companies that serves as a vehicle through which the Iranian regime can continue to launder money despite international sanctions. Through Sorinet, Zanjani oversees front companies in the UAE, Turkey, Malaysia, and Tajikistan.

For more information or to speak with FDD experts, please contact Madeleine Levey Lambert at [email protected] or 202-403-2941.


The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a Washington-based non-profit, non-partisan policy institute dedicated to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism.


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