After months of fruitless efforts to engage the regime in Tehran, and a raging Washington debate about “targeted” versus “broad-based” sanctions, or “smart sanctions” vs. “crippling sanctions,” Barack Obama’s administration has finally moved to punish Iran for failing to come clean about its suspicious nuclear program. The U.S. Treasury Department announced Wednesday that it has designated the four subsidiaries of a major engineering and construction firm, as well as the firm’s commander, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Gen. Rostam Qasemi.
So it seems the Obama administration is carrying out its threat to target Iran’s leaders, but not enact broad sanctions on the country that could harm its population, right?
Not so fast. The firm in question, Gharargah Sazandegi-ye Khatam al-Anbia, or Ghorb, which was first designated by the Treasury Department in 2007 because of its role in supporting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and terrorism, is a major player in the Iranian economy, including in its energy sector. In 2006, Ghorb received more than $7 billion in contracts including, as reported by International Oil Daily, a $2 billion contract to oversee the development of the South Pars gas project and a $1.3 billion no-bid contract for a gas pipeline running from a Persian Gulf port near South Pars to the border with Pakistan.
These designations will give further pause to the international companies partnering with Ghorb and … >>>