WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States government hit 10 firms linked to Iranian's shipping industry with sanctions on Tuesday, accusing them of helping the Islamic republic's missile and other military programmes.
The treasury department said 10 Malta-based shipping and front companies and one individual were linked to the state-run Islamic republic of Iran Shipping Lines, Irano Hind — a joint venture with the Indian government — and ISI Maritime.
The shippers are accused of "involvement in Iran's efforts to advance its missile programmes and transport military cargoes," and of trying to skirt sanctions via front companies.
"As IRISL and its subsidiaries continue their deceptive efforts to escape the grasp of US and international sanctions, we will continue to take action... to stop this illicit business," said top treasury official David Cohen.
Treasury said Irano Hind was a joint venture between IRISL and the Shipping Corporation of India, a state-backed enterprise based in Mumbai that was first hit with sanctions in 2009.
Similar sanctions were introduced by the European Union on December 1.