The United States has imposed sanctions on ten Iranian shipping firms affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), including Irano Hind, a joint venture with Shipping Corporation of India.
Announcing the sanctions, seen as part of expanded efforts to isolate Tehran, the US department of the treasury said on Tuesday the ten sanctioned shipping and front companies and one individual based in Malta were affiliated with the IRISL.
Accusing the firms of "involvement in Iran's efforts to advance its missile programmes and transport military cargoes," the treasury said they "have increasingly relied upon multiple front companies and agents to overcome the impact of US and international sanctions and increased scrutiny of their behaviour."
"As IRISL and its subsidiaries continue their deceptive efforts to escape the grasp of US and international sanctions, we will continue to take action-as we are today-to expose the front companies, agents and managers working with IRISL and work to stop this illicit business," said under decretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David S Cohen.
The entities and individual designated on Tuesday are owned or controlled by, or acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, IRISL, Irano Hind, or ISI Maritime, it said
IRISL has facilitated shipments of military-related cargo destined for Iran's ministry of defence and armed forces logistics (MODAFL) and its subordinate entities, including organizations designated by the United States for sanctions, the treasury said.
In Sep 2009, the treasury department also designated the IRISL-Shipping Corporation of India joint venture, Irano Hind. The UN Security Council designated Irano Hind in Resolution 1929 in 2010.
Treasury department's action was taken under an executive order aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters, excluding them from the US financial and commercial systems.