The US is sending more sanctions towards Iran in the coming weeks. According to a report from Politico, the Trump administration ordered new sanctions targeting a wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that is thought to be recruiting child soldiers to fight for Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad.
The targeted group, known as the Basij Resistance Force, is currently running a massive recruitment operation in Afghanistan in an attempt to bolster the number of pro-Assad regime fighters. The organization uses numerous shell companies to collect money from the Iranian “automotive, mining, metals, and banking industries,” according to the US Department of the Treasury.
“The Bonyad Taavon Basij network is an example of how the IRGC and Iranian military forces have expanded their economic involvement in major industries, and infiltrated seemingly legitimate businesses to fund terrorism and other malign activities,” said Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary in a press release. “This vast network provides financial infrastructure to the Basij’s efforts to recruit, train, and indoctrinate child soldiers who are coerced into combat under the IRGC’s direction. The international community must understand that business entanglements with the Bonyad Taavon Basij network and IRGC front companies have real world humanitarian consequences. This helps fuel the Iranian regime’s violent ambitions across the Middle East.”
In addition to recruiting and training child soldiers as young as 12-years-old, the Basij Resistance Front is also thought to be responsible for other human rights abuses in Iran after the 2009 presidential election, according to the US Treasury Department.
Besides the new action against Iran, the Treasury Department also announced it would be issuing sanctions to curb the flow of money into ISIS-controlled accounts. According to a press release, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) slapped fresh sanctions on “Afaq Dubai, an Iraq-based money wiring service.” Afaq Dubai is thought to be “a key ISIS financial facilitation group,” by the Department of Defense.
“This Iraq-based [business] is a part of ISIS’s complex network of money services businesses, hawalas, and financial facilitators funding terrorism across the Middle East,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker in a press release. “We are targeting this network in concert with the Department of Defense as part of this Administration’s ongoing campaign to cut off ISIS’s ability to launder money and move illicit funds. Even as ISIS’s hold on territory is eliminated, we will continue to search for and shut down the illicit financial networks ISIS utilizes to fund terror attacks and sustain operations.”
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