In the picture, the outgoing US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin. EFE / Michael Reynolds / Archive
Washington, Jan 13 (EFE) .- The United States imposed sanctions on two prominent Iranian foundations on Wednesday, claiming that they allow Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khameneí, to “corruptly” control large sectors of the country’s economy, including assets seized from dissidents and religious minorities.
The move, announced in a statement by the Treasury Department, is a fresh attempt to step up pressure on Tehran a week before outgoing President Donald Trump leaves power.
The sanctions affect the important Astan Quds Razavi Foundation (AQR), which manages Imam Reza’s mausoleum in the holy city of Mashad, and a powerful conglomerate called “Execution of the Order of Imam Khomeini” (EIKO), which it is under the direct control of the Iranian Supreme Leader.
“These institutions allow Iran’s elite to maintain a corrupt system of ownership over large parts of Iran’s economy,” outgoing US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
The two foundations, along with the already sanctioned Bonyad Mostazafan and another called Khatam al Anbiya that operates an air base, allegedly “control more than half of the Iranian economy,” according to the statement.
The Treasury described these institutions as “bonyads”, organizations “opaque and quasi-official, controlled by government officials and clergymen” and that “do not need public approval of their budgets”, which has allowed them “to accumulate enormous amounts of wealth without giving the promised benefit to the people of Iran “, in addition to favoring” systemic corruption “.
The United States described one of those sanctioned, EIKO, as a conglomerate under direct supervision of Khameneí that participates in “almost every sector of the Iranian economy, including energy, telecommunications and financial services.”
That organization “has systematically violated the rights of dissidents by confiscating land and property” from “political opponents, religious minorities and Iranians in exile,” the Treasury said.
The other sanctioned, AQR, is a charitable foundation that manages Mashad’s mausoleum, but according to the Treasury, “it has acquired numerous economic properties in construction, agriculture, energy, telecommunications and financial services.”
The Treasury also sanctioned those who run EIKO -Mohammad Mokhber- and AQR -Ahmad Marvi-; in addition to another individual and at least fourteen other entities that are related to those foundations.
The sanctions mean that any assets that those entities or individuals may have under the jurisdiction of the United States are frozen, and that Americans are prohibited from transacting with them from now on.
The move is part of an attempt to redouble pressure on Iran before Trump cedes power within a week to Biden, who plans to return to his country to the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 between Iran and six great powers, of which states Unidos retired in 2018.
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