US hits Iranian shipping firms with sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) ? The Obama administration is expanding sanctions against Iran’s shipping center as it steps up efforts to isolate the country from the international financial system.

The Treasure Department on Tuesday added 10 Iranian shipping companies and a shipping executive to a black list that freezes any assets they may have U.S. jurisdictions and bars Americans from doing business with them. The companies are affiliates of Iran’s state-owned shipping line, IRISIL, which is already subject to U.S. sanctions for activity related to Iran’s missile programs and transporting military cargoes.

The executive and the companies, including a joint venture between IRISIL and an Indian shipping company known as Irano Hind, are all based in Malta. Treasury alleges that they have all tried to help IRISIL avoid previous sanctions by serving as front operations.