The Obama administration sanctioned a Greek shipping magnate, saying he had helped Iran defy sanctions by providing cover for its oil trade.
Dimitris Cambis, "president of Impire Shipping, helped the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) obtain eight tankers in late 2012," said a statement issued Thursday by the State Department. "While these vessels were purchased and are controlled by Dr. Cambis and Impire Shipping, they are operated on behalf of NITC. U.S. law prohibits knowingly owning or controlling a vessel that operates in a manner that conceals the Iranian origin of crude oil by obscuring or concealing the ownership, operation, or control of the vessel by NITC."
The sanctions ban U.S. businesses from dealing with Cambis and Impire Shipping. Additionally, the U.S. order bans visas for Impire's corporate officers.
Cambis told Bloomberg News that he was the victim of rumors started by competitors.
Also announced were bans on two Iranian insurance entities, Kish Protection and Indemnity and Bimeh Markazi-Central Insurance of Iran for providing insurance for NITC.
"Today’s sanctions action sends a clear message: the United States will act resolutely against attempts to circumvent U.S. sanctions," said the statement by Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman. "Moreover, any business that continues to support Iran’s energy sector, enable the movement of its oil tankers or facilitate Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions could face serious consequences." The sanctions are aimed at forcing Iran to make more transparent its suspected nuclear weapons program.