US Official To Visit Mideast To Warn Against Russia, Iran Sanctions Violations

Saturday, 01/28/2023

The United States is sending its top sanctions official to Turkey and the Middle East next week to warn countries and companies not to violate US sanctions on Russia and Iran.

Brian Nelson, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, will travel to Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey from Jan. 29 to February 3 and meet with government officials as well as businesses and financial institutions to reiterate that Washington will continue to aggressively enforce its sanctions, a Treasury spokesperson told Reuters.

"Individuals and institutions operating in permissive jurisdictions risk potentially losing access to US markets on account of doing business with sanctioned entities or not conducting appropriate due diligence," the spokesperson said.

Although the trip appears to be firstly aimed at Turkey not to violate sanctions imposed on Russia, but Nelson will also raise the issue of Iran’s sanctions evasion.

Iran is using regional intermediaries to evade sanctions on its oil exports and financial transactions. The latest example is dollar smuggling from Iraq to Iran, which has prompted the US to scrutinize dollar transactions by Iraqi banks. The move has led to shortage of dollars in Iraq and fall of its currency.

Nelson will warn businesses and banks in Turkey that they should avoid transactions related to potential dual-use technology transfers, which could ultimately be used by Russia's military, the spokesperson said.

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