Treasury Sanctions Officials of Iranian and Russian Intelligence Agencies Over Wrongful Detentions

By Harold W. Reid, The Chicago Times

April 28, 2023

WASHINGTON – The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced Thursday that it has sanctioned four senior officials of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Intelligence Organization for its role in the hostage-taking of US nationals in Iran.

The IRGC-IO frequently holds and interrogates detainees in the notorious Evin Prison.  The Treasury Department said today’s action is the first under Executive Order (E.O.) 14078, “Bolstering Efforts to Bring Hostages and Wrongfully Detained U.S. Nationals Home,” which reaffirms the fundamental commitment of the U.S. government to bring home those U.S. nationals held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad. 

In addition the OFAC implemented the Department of State’s designation of Russia’s Federal Security Service, in addition to the IRGC-IO, for their involvement in the wrongful detention of U.S. nationals abroad.

“Today’s action targets senior officials and security services in Iran and Russia that are responsible for the hostage-taking or wrongful detention of U.S. nationals abroad,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement. “We are committed to bringing home wrongfully detained U.S. nationals and acting against foreign threats to the safety of U.S. nationals abroad.”

The sanctions announced today will apply to all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  Furthermore, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. 

Financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action.