State Dept. sanctions Chinese, HK officials and entities for supporting Iran

The U.S. Department of State announced Monday afternoon that it has imposed sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials and entities for supporting Iran‘s cargo shipping entity Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its subsidiary, Hafez Darya Arya Shipping Company (HDASCO). IRISL is critical to the regime’s ballistic missile, nuclear, and military programs.

The press release cites a United Nations resolution that affects IRISL in justifying these sanctions.

“A provision of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 mandates vigilance when doing business with IRISL and entities owned or controlled by IRISL under certain circumstances,” the press release says. “This provision is now in effect due to the snapback of UN sanctions.”

The sanctions are directed at six entities and two officials for conduct violating the aforementioned rule and that the State Department would carry these out in accordance with Section 1244 of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act enacted in June.

The entities receiving these sanctions are Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Company Ltd.; Reach Shipping Lines; Delight Shipping Co., Ltd.; Gracious Shipping Co. Ltd.; Noble Shipping Co. Ltd.; and Supreme Shipping Co. Ltd. The press release claims that they all “knowingly sold, supplied, or transferred to Iran significant goods or services used in connection with the shipping sector of Iran.” The latter four, according to the State Department, “each knowingly sold, supplied, or transferred a large container vessel to Iran to be used in connection with the shipping sector of Iran.”

As for the two individuals, they are the CEOs of Reach Holding Group (Shanghai), Eric Chen, and the company’s president, Daniel Y. He.

This all follows the State Department on June 8 designating IRISL and E-Sail Shipping Company Ltd., IRISL’s Shanghai-based subsidiary, “for their proliferation-related conduct” and warning that any stakeholders who continue to be involved with these entities are “at risk of sanctions.”

Additionally, according to the State Department, Reach Holding and its subsidiary, Reach Shipping, “provided services to IRISL, E-Sail, and HDASCO to help these Iranian shipping entities evade the consequences of U.S. sanctions.”

The Department echoed their stern warning to stakeholders in these companies again at the end of the press release, saying: “Today, we reiterate a warning to stakeholders worldwide:  If you do business with IRISL, you risk U.S. sanctions.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.