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Treasury Designates Supreme Leader of Iran’s Inner Circle Responsible for Advancing Regime’s Domestic and Foreign Oppression


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Action coincides with 40th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today against Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff and nine individuals who are appointees of, or have acted for or on behalf of, Ali Khamenei, the Iranian regime’s unelected Supreme Leader whose office is responsible for advancing Iran’s radical agenda. This action seeks to block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Ali Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have for decades oppressed the Iranian people, exported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world. Specifically, the action targets Ali Khamenei’s appointees in the Office of the Supreme Leader, the Expediency Council, the Armed Forces General Staff, and the Judiciary. Treasury’s action coincides with the 40th anniversary of Iranian militants seizing the U.S. embassy in Tehran, holding more than 50 Americans hostage for 444 days.

“Today the Treasury Department is targeting the unelected officials who surround Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and implement his destabilizing policies,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “These individuals are linked to a wide range of malign behaviors by the regime, including bombings of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in 1994, as well as torture, extrajudicial killings, and repression of civilians. This action further constricts the Supreme Leader’s ability to execute his agenda of terror and oppression.”

This action is being taken pursuant to President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order (E.O.) 13876, signed on June 24, 2019. The E.O. imposed sanctions on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Supreme Leader’s Office (SLO), and authorized sanctions on others associated with the Supreme Leader or the SLO. Today’s actions complement Treasury’s previous additions of Supreme Leader Khamenei and the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, to OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).

Ebrahim Raisi and Mojtaba Khamenei

Today, OFAC designated Ebrahim Raisi, the head of Iran’s Judiciary, who was appointed by the Supreme Leader in March 2019. OFAC designated the former head of Iran’s Judiciary Sadegh Amoli Larijani Larijani in January 2018 pursuant to E.O. 13553 for his administrative oversight over the executions of individuals who were juveniles at the time of their crime and the torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners in Iran, including amputations.

According to a United Nations report, Iran’s Judiciary sanctioned the execution of seven child offenders last year, and two so far in 2019, despite human rights law prohibitions against the death penalty for anyone under age 18. There are at least 90 child offenders currently on death row in Iran. In addition, between September 2018 and July 2019, at least eight prominent lawyers were arrested for defending political prisoners and human rights defenders, many of whom have received lengthy sentences by Iran’s Judiciary.

Prior to Raisi’s appointment as head of the Judiciary, he served as prosecutor general of Tehran between 1989 and 1994, first deputy head of the judiciary from 2004 to 2014, and Iran’s prosecutor general from 2014 to 2016. Raisi was involved in the regime’s brutal crackdown on Iran’s Green Movement protests that followed the chaotic and disorderly 2009 election. Previously, as deputy prosecutor general of Tehran, Raisi participated in a so-called “death commission” that ordered the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

Mojtaba Khamenei, the second son of the Supreme Leader, is designated today for representing the Supreme Leader in an official capacity despite never being elected or appointed to a government position aside from work in the office of his father. The Supreme Leader has delegated a part of his leadership responsibilities to Mojataba Khamenei, who worked closely with the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and also the Basij Resistance Force (Basij) to advance his father’s destabilizing regional ambitions and oppressive domestic objectives. The IRGC-QF is designated pursuant to Treasury’s counterterrorism authority (E.O. 13224) and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, while the Basij is designated pursuant to both E.O. 13224 and Treasury’s human rights designation authority (E.O. 13553).

Ebrahim Raisi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for being a person appointed to a position as a state official of Iran by the Supreme Leader of Iran. Mojtaba Khamenei is being designated for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of Iran.

Mohammadi Golpayegani and Vahid Haghanian

Also designated today is Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, the Supreme Leader’s Chief of Staff and one of the most senior officials within the Supreme Leader’s Office. Mohammadi Golpayegani often represents the Supreme Leader and his office in public engagements on behalf of the Supreme Leader’s Office.

Mohammadi Golpayegani, as the head of the Supreme Leader’s Office, along with the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, directed the regime’s systematic blocking of social and economic progress of the Baha’i community, a religious minority group in Iran. This includes expelling members of the Baha’i faith from universities and denying them employment.

OFAC is also designating Vahid Haghanian who has been referred to as the Supreme Leader’s right hand. A former military commander, Vahid Haghanian is acting as an executive deputy for the Supreme Leader and usually accompanies the Supreme Leader on social engagements.

Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader’s Office. Vahid Haghanian is being designated for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of Iran.

Ali Akbar Velayati and Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel

OFAC is designating Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Supreme Leader who has helped the Iranian regime extend credit lines to the brutal Assad regime.

Velayati, along with the senior IRGC-QF official Rostam Qasemi, announced that Iran was signing several investment and oil agreements with the Syrian regime in a visit to Syria, directly facilitating Iran’s lifeline to the Assad regime. OFAC designated Rostam Qasemi and a network of companies employed by Qasemi and Hizballah operatives to transport millions of barrels of crude oil, predominantly to the Syrian regime, pursuant to E.O. 13224 in September 2019.

Notably, Velayati has been charged in Argentina for homicide in connection with the 1994 AMIA bombing that killed 85 people and as one of the “ideological masterminds” behind the attack.

Also designated today is Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel, father-in-law of Mojtaba Khamenei, a member of the Expediency Council and also an advisor to Ali Khamenei. Hadad-Adel is known to be among those in the Supreme Leader’s inner circle.

Ali Akbar Velayati is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of Iran. Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel is being designated for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of Iran.

Armed Forces General Staff and Mohammad Bagheri

OFAC is designating Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS), the most senior military body in Iran, which implements policy and monitors and coordinates activities within the armed forces, including the IRGC. Ali Khamenei is also the commander-in-chief of Iran’s armed forces, and exercises his authority by appointing the AFGS chief and various other AFGS commanders. In 2016, Ali Khamenei appointed IRGC General Mohammad Bagheri as the chief of AFGS.

Mohammad Bagheri is designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for being a person appointed to a position as a state official of Iran by the Supreme Leader of Iran. AFGS is designated for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of Iran. The IRGC was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 on October 25, 2007; subsequently designated pursuant to terrorism authorities pursuant to E.O. 13224 on October 17, 2017; and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in April 2019.

Hossein Dehghan and Gholam Ali Rashid

IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan who is also being designated today, was appointed by Ali Khamenei as his military aide for the Defense Industries and Armed Forces Logistics. Hossein Dehghan was the commander of IRGC forces in Lebanon and Syria in 1983 when the bombing of a Marine compound in Beirut, Lebanon, killed 241 U.S. service members. Iran’s proxy militia, Hizballah, carried out the attack at the direction of the Iranian regime.

OFAC is designating Gholam Ali Rashid, an IRGC commander, who was appointed by the Supreme Leader of Iran as the commander of the Khatam al-Anbia Central Headquarters, the most important military headquarters in Iran. Khatam al-Anbia Central Headquarters operates under the AFGS and its main function is to coordinate the operations of the Iran’s armed forces.

Hossein Dehghan and Gholam Ali Rashid are both being designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for being persons appointed to a position as state official of Iran by the Supreme Leader of Iran.

Sanctions Implications

All property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts or facilitates a significant transaction for or on behalf of the persons designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through sanctions.

Read identifying information on the entities designated today.


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Regulator Information

Abbreviation: UST
Jurisdiction: United States

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