US Announces $15M Reward To Disrupt IRGC's "Sprawling Petroleum Shipping Network"

At a moment the Iran-flagged tanker Adrian Darya has "gone dark" - turning off its transponder signal as it waits off the Syrian coast in what is believed the precursor to an imminent offloading of its 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude, the US Treasury has rolled out new sanctions covering 40 Iran-linked companies, individuals and vessels in what is the most far-reaching attempt to disrupt Iran's oil trade on the high seas yet.

The new sanctions also seek to disrupt Hezbollah sources of funding.

A senior administration official announced Wednesday the US is targeting a "sprawling petroleum shipping network" spearheaded by former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders and their proxies such as Hezbollah.

The official charged that Iran's oil continued in "funding" global terrorism. The senior official further called on the international community to "reject oil from Iran" and further took the unprecedented step of offering a substantial reward to anyone that helps to "disrupt an [Iranian] government operation".  

Specifically, the US is now offering for the first time ever a reward up to $15 million to help disrupt petroleum operations of the IRGC and its Quds force, citing "hundreds of millions of dollars" in oil moved "over the past year through this network". 

The State Department is offering the massive sum through its Rewards for Justice program, which includes giving information which uncovers the sources of IRGC funding.

The Trump administration formally designated the IRGC a terrorist organization last April. There's still a US "seizure warrant" out for what the US has described as the "IRGC-controlled" Adrian Darya for alleged EU and US sanctions busting related to Syria. 

Crucially, US State Department top official Brian Hook also announced that the US not considering granting waivers for trade with Iran, which is likely enough to crush French efforts at extending Tehran a $15 billion line of credit if it brings its uranium enrichment levels back into compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal. 

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