Exclusive: U.S. puts sanctions on Turkish businessman, citing links to Iran’s Quds Force

WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on prominent Turkish businessman Setki Ayan and his network of firms, accusing him of facilitating oil sales and money laundering for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Accused of acting as

The US actions come at a time when relations between the two countries have been strained over several issues, including disagreements over Syria policy and Ankara’s purchase of Russian air defense systems.

Ian’s companies negotiated international sales contracts for Iranian oil, arranged shipments and helped launder the proceeds, and obscured the origin of Iranian oil on behalf of Iran’s Quds Force. Diya, which is a branch of the IRGC, the Treasury said in a statement previously reported by Reuters. .

In China, Europe and the United Arab Emirates, “Ian established business deals to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian oil to buyers,” he said, adding that he then funneled the money back to the Quds Force. .

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Ayan’s son Bahaduddin Ayan, his partner Qasim Oztas and two other Turkish nationals involved in his business network have also been named, along with 26 companies, including his ASB Group, based in Gibraltar. Includes a holding company and a ship.

“We will defend our legal rights against everyone,” Sitaki Ayan said in an emailed response to a Reuters request for comment.

He added that he was involved in two business dealings with Iran. These were trade in oil and petroleum products that ended as a result of sanctions in 2010, and Iranian electricity sales to Turkey from 2009 to 2015, which it abandoned over payment problems.

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He said that I have never worked with anyone else in my life except the Iranian government agencies.

Ayan’s sons, Bahaduddin and Oztas, were not immediately available for comment. Ian’s ASB Group and Turkey’s Communications Directorate did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Treasury action freezes any U.S. assets of these designated individuals and generally bars Americans from doing business with them. Certain transactions with designated persons are also subject to sanctions.

Washington recently warned Turkey against military incursions into northern Syria after Ankara said it was preparing a possible ground attack against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which it considers terrorists but which The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are in large part. .

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Washington is maintaining tough sanctions on Iran and is looking for ways to increase pressure as efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran have stalled.

President Joe Biden tried to negotiate Iran’s return to the nuclear deal after former President Donald Trump pulled out in 2018.

The 2015 deal limited Iran’s uranium enrichment activities to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

Reporting by Humira Pamuk and Daphne Solidakis; Additional reporting by Ezegi Erquin and Darren Butler; Edited by Howard Goller and Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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