WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Lebanese businessmen and a Lebanese legislator it said were involved in a string of high-profile black-market oil deals that benefited Iran.
In all, the administration targeted 19 individuals and one company, raising to 31 the number of Iranian financial figures and energy companies it has sanctioned since May.
The administration said the latest sanctions should serve as a warning to other countries that the United States will continue to take tough action against any Iranian activity in the global energy market that benefits Iran. The Treasury Department said it has no qualms about penalizing individuals or companies that have even the appearance of benefiting Iran.
“Ongoing sanctions support sanctions action that is designed to deny Iran the resources it needs to fund malign activities,” Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker said in a statement. “We will continue to target those who seek to undermine U.S. policy and gain access to American financial institutions to finance illicit activities.”
The individuals sanctioned Thursday include Samir Bahar, who serves as Lebanon’s parliamentary speaker; Mouin Khazei, an internationally known businessman who also heads Lebanon’s Maritime Port Authority; and Salim Bek, owner of Ansor Ltd., a Lebanese oil and gas contractor.
Also sanctioned were two Lebanese banks, M.A. Dar al-Maalouf and Beirut.
In late April, the administration leveled sanctions on six major banks in Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait, seizing more than $300 million in a bid to thwart money transfers they were carrying out in support of Tehran’s military and terrorist activities.