U.S. Sanctions Shut Off Iranian Oil Supplies to Syria
The United States has blocked Iranian oil supplies to Syria, alleging that Iran’s conduct in the country was part of a “quest to dominate” the Middle East. New Treasury Department sanctions targeted two Lebanese firms, SAL and BS Company, which have imported tens of thousands of metric tons of Iranian oil into Syria. The sanctions focus mainly on Syria’s most prominent tycoon, Samer Foz, who has close ties to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and made a fortune by developing properties on land seized from those who fled during the Syrian civil war. “Some of Samer Foz’s activities involved helping the Iranian regime illicitly ship oil to the Assad regime,” U.S. Special Envoy for Syria Joel Rayburn stated, adding that the sanctions would also apply pressure on the “Assad regime’s key supporters, such as the Iranian regime and Hizbullah.” The Islamic Republic has been one of Assad’s primary supporters during the eight-year Syrian conflict, which has killed more than 400,000 people. Tehran’s presence in Syria has been a concern for many countries in the region, especially neighboring Israel and its close ally, the U.S.