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US offers $15 million reward for information that disrupts Iran Revolutionary Guards' overseas business empire

The US wants Iran to scale back its missile programme [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 September, 2019

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The US is stepping up its pressure on Iran, with a reward issued for information on Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
The US is offering $15 million reward to anyone who helps disrupt Iran's Revolutionary Guards business interests.

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said the US State Department would provide a $15-million reward for information to anyone who helps block the Revolutionary Guards and Quds Force business operations.

The Revolutionary Guards operates a huge business empire, with much of its operations taking place abroad.

Tehran has looked at outside investments and banking to help Iran's elite military divisions evade US sanctions.

The Quds Force - the overseas wing of the Revolutionary Guards - is seen as one of the main benefactors of this business empire, with the militias operating in Syria and Iraq, with links to Hezbollah in Lebanon and some say the Houthis in Yemen.

The US says Iran uses its businesses to finance Hezbollah and other militia groups in the region. The US stepped up its pressure on Tehran on Tuesday by sanctioning an Iran shipping network.

"Deception is at the heart of the Quds Force shipping network," he said.

"Every port operator, ship owner and management company should steer clear of the targets identified today."

He warned that the "economic and reputational costs that result from US sanctions are not worth the modest gains of doing business with Iran".

The US singled out the India-based Mehdi Group for providing crews and vessels used by the network as well as several affiliates and other firms based in Lebanon, Singapore and the UAE.

Hook said that the US would apply "maximum pressure" on Iran to cut its overseas links with militant groups and negotiate a new nuclear deal.

The US pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran last year, arguing that Tehran was using this as cover to continue its expansion overseas and ramping up its missile programme.

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