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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

U.S. Targets Al-Ashtar Brigades Operatives

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is taking action in coordination with the Kingdom of Bahrain against key Iran-based operatives and a financial facilitator for designated terrorist group Al-Ashtar Brigades. The Department of State designated Al-Ashtar Brigades as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2018. 

 “Today’s action, taken in coordination with the Kingdom of Bahrain, underscores our collective commitment to disrupting Iran’s destabilizing forces and threats, particularly those which threaten our partners in the region and around the world,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

Today’s designations highlight the critical role that the Iranian regime plays in providing support to Al-Ashtar Brigades. In 2018, the government of Bahrain charged numerous individuals due to terrorism-related activities. A number of these individuals fled Bahrain to evade prison sentences and settled in Iran, which has long supported and continues to serve as a safe haven for terrorist groups. These individuals are being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorist groups and their supporters.

AL-ASHTAR BRIGADES OPERATIVES IN IRAN

Hussein Ahmad ‘Abdallah Ahmad Hussein Al-Dammami (Al-Dammami) has engaged in facilitating lethal aid into Bahrain in support of Al-Ashtar Brigades.  Previously, Al-Dammami was investigated by the Bahraini government for attempted murder, terrorism, possessing explosives, and other crimes, and fled to Iran following his sentencing and asset seizures.  

 Ali Abdulnabi Ahmed Ebrahim M Alshofa is an Iran-based Al-Ashtar Brigades member involved in suspected lethal aid facilitation in the Middle East. 

 Hasan Ahmed Radhi Husain Sarhan is an Iran-based Al-Ashtar Brigades member that has been involved in plotting terrorist operations in Bahrain. 

 Isa Saleh Isa Mohamed Salman (Salman) is an Iran-based Al-Ashtar Brigades financier involved in money transfers for the group. On several occasions, Salman facilitated money transfers into Bahrain. 

 Hussein Ahmad ‘Abdallah Ahmad Hussein Al-Dammami, Ali Abdulnabi Ahmed Ebrahim M Alshofa, Hasan Ahmed Radhi Husain Sarhan, and Isa Saleh Isa Mohamed Salman, have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Al-Ashtar Brigades, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224. 

 SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.  Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. 

 In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action.  The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. 

 The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.

It is a Treasury priority to address unintended impacts on the humanitarian sector and to ensure that humanitarian organizations retain the financial access necessary to engage in life-saving activities.  OFAC sanctions programs that implement E.O. 13224 contain certain humanitarian-related general licenses, which include authorizations to enable the flow of legitimate humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations.  Designated persons themselves, including the individuals and entities designated today, are not permitted to use these available authorizations. 

Click here for more information on the individuals and entities designated today.

Additional Treasury resources on countering the financing of terrorism:

 FinCEN Alert to Financial Institutions to Counter Financing to Hamas and its Terrorist Activities

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Official news published at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy2171

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