Today, the United States imposed sanctions on Tidewater Middle East Company, an operator of Iranian ports owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that has links to Iranian proliferation activities. We also imposed sanctions against Iran Air, which was designated for providing material support and services to the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), and also has facilitated proliferation-related activities. Today’s sanctions also exposed an Iranian individual and entity for their ties to a company that provided support and weapons to Hizballah on behalf of the IRGC.
The IRGC’s illicit activities and its increasing displacement of the legitimate Iranian private sector in major strategic industries, including in the commercial and energy sectors, are deeply troubling. The IRGC also serves as the domestic “enforcer” for the Iranian regime, continues to play an important proliferation role by orchestrating the import and export of prohibited items to and from Iran, is involved in support of terrorism throughout the region, and is responsible for serious human rights abuses against peaceful Iranian protestors and other opposition participants.
Preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a top U.S. Government priority and we remain deeply concerned about Iran’s nuclear intentions. The United States is committed to a dual-track policy of applying pressure in pursuit of constructive engagement, and a negotiated solution.
On June 9, 2011, the P5+1 countries (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States) reaffirmed their concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and their commitment to a diplomatic solution in their statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors. Many other governments have also expressed serious concerns about the behavior and policies of the Iranian leadership and have urged Iran to change course and seek a path of negotiation. Yet, in the face of this unified international message, Iran has continued to violate its international obligations and disregard our attempts to start meaningful negotiations over its nuclear program.
For this reason, the United States is convinced that the international community must continue to increase and broaden the scope of pressures on Iran. We welcome steps such as the European Union’s designation of more than 100 entities and individuals last month and the improved implementation of sanctions against Iran that we are seeing around the world.
This month, the United States amplified our sanctions against Iran’s leadership through a comprehensive initiative aimed at Iran’s dangerous behavior–its continued proliferation activities, its human rights abuses, and its destabilizing activities in the region.
On June 9, we sanctioned the Iranian security forces for human rights abuses. Earlier this week, we continued our efforts against the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), which the UN Security Council 1737 Sanctions Committee noted has been involved in several violations of UN Security Council resolutions on Iran.
The steps we have taken this week seek to limit Iran’s ability to use the global financial system to pursue illicit activities. We have made important progress in isolating Iran, but we cannot waver. Our efforts must be unrelenting to sharpen the choice for Iran’s leaders to abandon their dangerous course.
The United States and our partners remain fully committed to a diplomatic solution with Iran. However, until Iran is prepared to engage seriously with us on such a solution, we will continue to increase pressure against Iranian entities of concern.