The U.S. has imposed sanctions on the Iranian-backed Fatemiyoun Division and Zaynabiyoun Brigade, which have been fighting in Syria for more than four years now.
The two groups primarily recruit fighters from the approximately 3 million Afghan refugees in Iran. According to the available information, they participated in many battles, including the liberation of the historical city of Palmyra where they sustained the heaviest amount of losses.
“The brutal Iranian regime exploits refugee communities in Iran, deprives them of access to basic services such as education, and uses them as human shields for the Syrian conflict … Treasury’s targeting of Iran-backed militias and other foreign proxies is part of our ongoing pressure campaign to shut down the illicit networks the regime uses to export terrorism and unrest across the globe,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an official statement released on January 24.
The new U.S. sanctions also included Iranian Qeshm Fars Air for “delivering cargo, including weapons shipments,” to Damascus on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and the Arminian Flight Travel LLC for serving as a general sales agent (GSA) for Iranian Mahan Air, which was sanctioned last year.
“We are aggressively targeting those who continue to provide commercial support to Mahan Air and other designated airlines, and any who fail to heed our warnings expose themselves to severe sanctions risk,” Mnuchin warned.
Since the beginning of 2018, the U.S. has started to impose strict sanctions on entities affiliated with the IRGC in a bid to cripple the operations of the Iranian force. However, these measures remain largely ineffective as many Middle Eastern countries, including US formal allies like Iraq, are ignoring them.
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