Skip to main content

US sanctions oil shipping network supporting Hezbollah, Quds Force

The Treasury Department accused a Gulf-based group of individuals and front companies of concealing the Iranian origins of oil shipments.
Supporters of Hezbollah hold up their phones and wave the party flag during a celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the Shiite movement creation in southern suburb of Beirut on Aug. 22, 2022.

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on members of an international oil smuggling network accused of generating revenue for Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the foreign arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

The designations targeted what the US Treasury Department said was a Gulf-based group of individuals and front companies that used storage units in the United Arab Emirates’ Port of Sharjah and blended oil shipments to conceal their Iranian origin. Modified or counterfeit certificates were given to the oil shipments before their sale abroad, the department said.  

Treasury designated six individuals, 17 entities and 11 vessels involved in the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of oil on behalf of Iran-backed Hezbollah and the IRGC’s Quds Force. The oil-smuggling network was sanctioned under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorist organizations and their supporters.

“The individuals running this illicit network use a web of shell companies and fraudulent tactics including document falsification to obfuscate the origins of Iranian oil, sell it on the international market and evade sanctions,” said Brian Nelson, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.  

“Market participants should be vigilant of Hezbollah and the IRGC-QF’s attempts to generate revenue from oil smuggling to enable their terrorist activities around the world,” Nelson said in a statement. 

As efforts to revive the landmark nuclear agreement faltered earlier this year, the Biden administration stepped up its targeting of Iran’s oil and petrochemical products. It announced counterterrorism sanctions in May on another international smuggling network allegedly led by current and former Quds Force officials and backed by senior levels of the Russian government. 

The latest sanctions come as anti-government protests continue for the seventh straight week in Iran. Since demonstrations erupted in mid-September over the death in police custody of 22-year-old Masha Amini, the Biden administration has rolled a tranche of mostly human rights and internet censorship-related sanctions on those involved in Iran’s brutal crackdown on protesters.  

Last week, the administration imposed sanctions on 14 Iranians, including Revolutionary Guard commanders, a provincial governor and prison officials. It also designated an Iran-based foundation that maintains a multimillion-dollar bounty on Salman Rushdie, the British-American author attacked on stage in New York in August.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Security Briefing Security Briefing

Security Briefing

Middle East defense and security in your inbox

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial