Iranian Businessman Living in China has Been Financing Hezbollah and the IRGC

The Treasury Department has sanctioned several Chinese entities and individuals for allegedly financing Iran-related terrorist activities.The Treasury Department said the sanctions action would involve the seizure of US-based property of the individuals and entities and prohibit all transactions with them.

The agency’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said Friday it is imposing sanctions on members of the networks that finance the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon and Kuwait, according to the Epoch Times.

Several of the sanctioned companies are based in Hong Kong including PCA Xiang Gang Ltd.; Damineh Optic Ltd.; China 49 Group Co. Ltd.; Taiwan Be Charm Trading Co., Ltd.; and Black Drop Intl Co., Ltd., the news outlet also reports.

The companies are either directly or indirectly owned, controlled or directed by Morteza Minaye Hashemi, an Iranian businessman living in China who’s also on the sanctions list.

Hashemi is accused by the U.S. government of funding the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, the Epoch Times also reports.

***.US slaps new sanctions on Hezbollah over Iran's fuel ...

In part: The seven entities include PCA Xiang Gang Limited, Damineh Optic Limited, China 49 Group Co, Taiwan Be Charm Trading Co, Black Drop International Co, Victory Somo Group (HK) Limited, and Yummy Be Charm Trading (HK) Limited, according to a press release on the Treasury Department website.

The designations came as part of a broader action by the department that targeted Lebanon and Kuwait-based financial conduits that fund the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah as well as financial facilitators and front companies that support the group and Iran.

Black Drop International Co could not be found in the Hong Kong government’s company registry when the Post did a search on Saturday night. Detailed information on the other companies, such as the owners’ names and office addresses, was also not accessible.

Hashemi, Yan Su Xuan, Song Jing and the seven companies named by the Treasury department join a list of 351 entities still sanctioned under an executive order signed by former president George W Bush shortly after the terrorist attacks against the US on September 11, 2001.

The Treasury Department said international networks have laundered tens of millions of dollars through regional financial systems and conducted currency exchange operations and trades in gold and electronics for the benefit of both IRGC-QF.

Hezbollah, with the support of the IRGC-QF, uses the revenues generated by these networks to fund terrorist activities, as well as to perpetuate instability in Lebanon and throughout the region, the department said.

N.Korea Tests First ‘Strategic’ Cruise Missile

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato said the country had “significant concerns” and was working with the US and South Korea to monitor the situation.

The US military said the test showed North Korea’s “continuing focus on developing its military programme”, adding that its commitment to defending allies South Korea and Japan remained “ironclad”.

Top-level officials from the three countries are due to meet this week to discuss North Korea’s denuclearisation process.

South Korea’s military is also doing an in-depth analysis of the launches with US intelligence authorities, the news agency Yonhap reports.

  • Tests involved new, long-range cruise missiles – KCNA
  • New missiles represent serious capability for N.Korea – analysts
  • U.S. military: Launches highlight threat to N.Korea’s neighbours
  • Tests came before meeting by U.S., Japan, S.Korea to discuss N.Korea

SEOUL, Sept 13 (Reuters) – North Korea carried out successful tests of a new long-range cruise missile over the weekend, state media said on Monday, seen by analysts as possibly the country’s first such weapon with a nuclear capability.

The missiles are “a strategic weapon of great significance” and flew 1,500 km (930 miles) before hitting their targets and falling into the country’s territorial waters during the tests on Saturday and Sunday, KCNA said.

The latest test highlighted steady progress in Pyongyang’s weapons programme amid a gridlock over talks aimed at dismantling the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in return for U.S. sanctions relief. The talks have stalled since 2019.

North Korea’s cruise missiles usually generate less interest than ballistic missiles because they are not explicitly banned under U.N. Nations Security Council Resolutions.

“This would be the first cruise missile in North Korea to be explicitly designated a ‘strategic’ role,” said Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “This is a common euphemism for nuclear-capable system.”

It is unclear whether North Korea has mastered the technology needed to build warheads small enough to be carried on a cruise missile, but leader Kim Jong Un said earlier this year that developing smaller bombs is a top goal.

The two Koreas have been locked in an accelerating arms race that analysts fear will leave the region littered with powerful new missiles.

South Korea’s military did not disclose whether it had detected the North’s latest tests, but said on Monday it was conducting a detailed analysis in cooperation with the United States.

The U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) said it was aware of the reports and was coordinating with its allies and partners.

“This activity highlights (North Korea’s) continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbours and the international community,” INDOPACOM said in a statement.

Rodong Sinmun, the ruling Workers’ Party’s official newspaper, ran photos of the new cruise missile flying and being fired from a transporter-erector-launcher.

The test provides “strategic significance of possessing another effective deterrence means for more reliably guaranteeing the security of our state and strongly containing the military manoeuvres of the hostile forces,” KCNA said.

The Academy of National Defense Science conducts long-range cruise missile tests in North Korea, as pictured in this combination of undated photos supplied by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 13, 2021.   KCNA via REUTERS    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The Academy of National Defense Science conducts long-range cruise missile tests in North Korea, as pictured in this combination of undated photos supplied by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 13, 2021. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

It was seen as the North’s first missile launch after it tested a new tactical short-range ballistic missile in March. North Korea also conducted a cruise missile test just hours after U.S. President Joe Biden took office in late January.


Jeffrey Lewis, a missile researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said intermediate-range land-attack cruise missiles were no less a threat than ballistic missiles and were a pretty serious capability for North Korea.

“This is another system that is designed to fly under missile defence radars or around them,” Lewis said on Twitter.

Cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles that can be armed with either conventional or nuclear bombs are particularly destabilising in the event of conflict as it can be unclear which kind of warhead they are carrying, analysts said.

Kim Jong Un did not appear to have attended the test, with KCNA saying Pak Jong Chon, a member of the Workers’ Party’s powerful politburo and a secretary of its central committee, oversaw it.

The reclusive North has long accused the United States and South Korea of “hostile policy” toward Pyongyang.

The unveiling of the test came just a day before chief nuclear negotiators from the United States, South Korea and Japan meet in Tokyo to explore ways to break the standoff with North Korea.

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, is also scheduled to visit Seoul on Tuesday for talks with his counterpart, Chung Eui-yong.

Biden’s administration has said it is open to diplomacy to achieve North Korea’s denuclearisation, but has shown no willingness to ease sanctions.

Sung Kim, the U.S. envoy for North Korea, said in August in Seoul that he was ready to meet with North Korean officials “anywhere, at any time.”

A reactivation of inter-Korean hotlines in July raised hopes for a restart of the negotiations, but the North stopped answering calls as annual South Korea-U.S. military exercises began last month, which Pyongyang had warned could trigger a security crisis.

In recent weeks South Korea became the first non-nuclear state to develop and test a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Peter Cooney and Lincoln Feast.

The U.S. has Frozen $9.5 Billion in Assets Belonging to Afghanistan Central Bank

The U.S. has frozen nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the nation as it tries to keep a Taliban-led government from accessing the money, an administration official confirmed Tuesday.This amounts to roughly one-third of the country’s annual economic output. International aid flows represented roughly 43 percent of Afghanistan’s economy in 2020, according to the World Bank.Afghanistan Economy: Hard to recover - CGTN

The official said that any central bank assets that the Afghan government has in the U.S. will not be available to the Taliban, which remains on the Treasury Department’s sanctions designation list. Additionally, as the Taliban began their march through Afghanistan, the Biden administration cancelled a planned shipment of physical dollars due to be delivered to the country and directed the International Monetary Fund to renege on its long-planned release of funds to Afghanistan. More detail and context here. 

The United States’ principal competitors in Beijing and Moscow see a potential opening with the U.S. departure. While there is little thought that China or Russia are interested in aiding Afghanistan’s development – instead seeing the country as both a playground for great power influence and, on the part of Beijing, a mercantilist maneuver critical to clinching its Belt-and-Road initiative in South Asia – it is possible that China and Russia can actually leverage U.S. sanctions and the restrictions major financial institutions will face in dealing with Afghanistan to empower the Taliban and their own interests. The Taliban meanwhile may welcome China and Russia filling the void of western finance and aid while also taking advantage of the departure of U.S. restrictions on poppy production to return to state controlled narcotics sales, furthering enriching themselves while continuing to impoverish the Afghan people.

Beyond the reserves, the United States also sends roughly $3 billion per year in support for the Afghan military, or roughly 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The funding can only be spent if the secretary of defense “certifies to Congress that the Afghan forces are controlled by a civilian, representative government that is committed to protecting human rights and women’s rights,” according to a congressional summary of the legislation. This funding is expected to stop flowing as well, along with smaller pots of money, such as $20 million for recruiting women to the Afghan national security forces.

About 80 percent of Afghanistan’s budget is funded by the United States and other international donors, John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told Reuters in the spring. A spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget declined to comment on the status of congressionally approved funding for Afghanistan. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference Tuesday that NATO has suspended aid to the Afghan government as well. “We have of course suspended all support, financial and other kinds of support, to the Afghan government, because there is no Afghan government for NATO to support,” Stoltenberg said. “No money is transferred; no support is provided.” More context here. 

Meanwhile, China, Pakistan, Iran and Russia will keep their embassies in Kabul open and functional while most other nations have shuttered and evacuated their embassy operations. China is making financial moves to support the Taliban while doing the same to takeover the now former US air base in Bagram.

The UN Secretary General held a half day conference seeking to raise the $606 million which humanitarian agencies say is urgently needed to provide life-saving aid to millions of Afghans over the four final months of the year.

Among other things, the money is needed for critical food and livelihood assistance for nearly 11 million people and essential health services for 3.4 million.


Guterres stressed that Afghans were experiencing “one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world” even before the Taliban takeover on August 15.

Some 40 percent of the country’s GDP was already drawn from foreign funding, and half of the population was already dependent on humanitarian aid, according to the UN.

Afghanistan is also facing a devastating drought and mass displacement in addition to the impact of Covid-19.

Fears now abound that other countries’ reluctance to deal with the Taliban could push Afghanistan over the edge.

Guterres announced that the UN would release $20 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund to support the humanitarian operation in Afghanistan.

Under the leadership of acting central bank governor, Haji Mohammad Idris, a Taliban loyalist who has no formal financial training, the central bank has been moving to restrict dollar outflows amid a pause in foreign aid and a scramble by some Afghanis to get savings out of the country.

Further controls are expected to hasten the afghani’s depreciation against the dollar, exacerbating inflation in a country where more than a third of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

“It’s a matter of concern that the remaining physical cash of U.S. dollars is going to reduce further,” said an Afghani banker. “With the restrictions we are predicting the dollar will reach more than 100 afghanis to the dollar.”

Top Afghan Govt Officials Smuggled into Turkey

It has been noted that the Turkish military had been providing security at the Hamid Karzai International Airport and the Taliban has told Turkey that service is no longer needed.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid on Tuesday said that there was no need for the presence of Turkish troops at the Kabul airport and the Islamist group would secure the airport by themselves, Afghan 1TV channel reported.

Additionally, Turkey has evacuated more than 1400 people while other countries are still scrambling to do the same by the hard August 31 deadline as announced by President Biden after CIA Director Burns met with Taliban leaders on Tuesday.

*** Kabul airport

Meanwhile, Iran has restarted exports of gasoline and gasoil to Afghanistan, following a request from the Taliban, Iran’s Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters’ Union said Monday.

Taliban cut tariffs on imports of fuel from Iran up to 70%, a spokesperson of the union told Reuters.

As for smuggling top Afghan officials, read on.

APPROXIMATELY 40 SENIOR OFFICIALS in the government of deposed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani have been secretly smuggled to Turkey in recent days. They include Afghanistan’s intelligence chief, according to reports in Turkish media. They claim that the Afghan officials were smuggled out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan by Turkish military and intelligence operatives. The latter reportedly hid the officials among crowds of Turkish citizens who were evacuated from Kabul in recent days, as the Taliban were entering the Afghan capital.

Turkish media said the Turkish embassy in Kabul had developed evacuation plans earlier this summer, as the Taliban were conquering large swathes of territory throughout the countryside, including a number of provincial capitals. These plans were put in place for the benefit of Turkish expatriates who lived and worked in Afghanistan However, according to reports, Turkish embassy officials also reached out to “Afghan officials, who have close ties with Turkey” and informed them of the evacuation plans.

As Taliban forces began to enter Kabul, Turkish embassy officials put the evacuation plans into action, and invited selected Afghan officials to make use of them. Within hours, a Turkish Airlines passenger plane appeared on the tarmac of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Due to a previously agreed-to arrangement between Ankara and Washington, some parts of the airport were being guarded by Turkish troops. These troops reportedly helped guide the evacuees onto the aircraft, while keeping at bay “a large crowd” of people seeking to leave Kabul, who “started to run towards the plane”.

The aircraft eventually left Kabul with 324 passengers on board, including around 40 senior Afghan officials. Among them were Afghanistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the country’s Second Vice President, Sarwar Danish, as well as Ahmad Zia Sraj, who headed the National Directorate of Security (NDS). Formed in 2002, the NDS was the national intelligence and security service of Afghanistan until it was dissolved by the Taliban earlier this month. It is reported that most of its 30,000-strong force has no2 dispersed into refugee camps in India, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

It is no wonder that Germany and likely other European leaders are having talks with Turkey regarding Kabul. Since the G7 virtual meeting failed to extend the departure date, individual NATO leaders appear to be having their own potential deals with the Taliban defacto government of Afghanistan.

Germany is in talks regarding civilian flight activities at Afghanistan’s Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport, the country’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday.

“We are in talks with the USA, Turkey and others about the continued operation of the airport Kabul also beyond the military evacuation. This also requires talks with the Taliban, which will play a role after the U.S. forces have withdrawn,” Maas tweeted.

In a dramatic turn of events that brought an effective end to the 20-year-old war, the Afghan military collapsed in the face of the Taliban’s lightning offensive and so did its government in Kabul under former President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country.

The armed movement’s military victory prompted a chaotic and frenzied evacuation of all foreign nationals belonging to the U.S., the U.K. and NATO countries in Afghanistan with helicopters shuttling nationals from embassies to the airport.

Afghans have also flooded the airport, desperate to flee the country as uncertainty over how the Taliban will rule increases. Many civilians have died attempting to flee by clinging onto aircraft, only to later plummet to their deaths. Others died after suffocating due to stampedes at the departure terminal.


Turkish troops are protecting Kabul airport and ensure that evacuations continue in a safe and peaceful manner.

Moreover, Ankara has offered to guard and operate Kabul’s airport after the U.S. and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan. Questions remain on how security will be assured along major transport routes and at the airport, which is the main international gateway to the capital, Kabul.

The security of the airport is crucial for the operation of diplomatic missions out of Afghanistan as Western forces pull out. The airport is in a strategic location close to the Afghan presidential palace and foreign diplomatic missions in Kabul and is the only place from which to evacuate diplomats in emergency situations.

Turkey has been in Afghanistan in a noncombat role for 20 years and has been involved in consultancy efforts, reconstruction and maintenance. It has been operating the airport for six years.


The Mailbox for Evacuation Requests at State Dept is Full

For that matter, most of the mailboxes for all of government, the same is true including those in Congress. I have called at least 9 myself several times this past week. I was only able to speak to a real person in Congressman Ken Buck’s office, her name was Monica and she had some factual interesting things to say. I made a couple of requests and like wow….she said she would call me back…..SHE DID. Mission complete with my request.

Anyway….from Jim Geraghty at National Review:

This morning I heard from a longtime NR reader who spent years in Afghanistan working for a defense contractor. This reader’s company worked on the construction of camps and garrisons, parts of bases at Bagram and Kandahar, as well as several government buildings for the Afghan military and police.

“We directly employed thousands of Afghans,” he told me. “Their lives are in danger of retaliation by the Taliban because they helped the American military. Recognizing this, on August 2nd the U.S. government created another classification of asylum/visa processing called ‘Priority 2’.”

The announcement of the Priority 2 program can be found here. An unidentified senior state department official stated, “Many thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members are at risk due to these U.S. affiliations and are not eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa because either they did not have qualifying employment, or they have not met the time-in-service requirement to become eligible; however, they may be eligible for a P-2 referral, and thus, to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.” Priority 2 covers Afghans who worked with U.S. government-funded programs, as well as those who were employed in Afghanistan by a U.S.-based non-governmental or media organization that does not require U.S. government funding.

My reader said, “I’ve been busy the last week submitting referrals to the State Department on behalf of Afghans and their families who worked for us and whose very lives have been threatened. The submission is through email to a dedicated inbox at State. We began receiving messages that the inbox is full and that we should try later. This has been going on for half a day now.”

He shared with me an  automatic reply e-mail that declared, “The recipient’s mailbox is full and can’t accept messages now. Please try resending your message later, or contact the recipient directly.”

My reader is furious. “Lives are in danger. Evacuations are in chaos  — don’t believe a damn word any American spokesman says – they’re either making it up or they are lying. And the damn system for prioritizing our Afghan workers is a cluster because the DOS can’t manage a damn email inbox! I have never been so disappointed and angry at my government than today. It is maddening.”

My reader has contacted one of his senators – a Republican – but had to leave a message on the constituent line.

I rest my case on this fact…sadly. But to continue on.

All week long, officials in the Biden administration have told us they don’t know how many Americans are stuck in various locations around Afghanistan. Only part of that is true. They know how many Americans are in Afghanistan, that is a fact…where they may be at any particular moment could be true. Understand this: anyone from the United States that travels to Afghanistan must get a visa and ensure they have a passport. Both of those things are permanent records and are maintained at the State Department in a database. As simple keyboard inquiry is all that is needed. Going deeper on the matter, is your passport and boarding pass. The TSA scans both. And in most airports with international travel gates, those two documents at the time of travel are merged. For details on the chipped passports, e-Passport or biometric passports, go here.

Is there a chance the actual database may be off on the actual number? Sure based on the traveler’s movement, but you can be assured our State Department knows the number with at least above 90% accuracy. The reason the ‘don’t know answer’ is given is because it would admit we cannot possibly get Americans out of likely peril in Afghanistan within the Biden timeline.

Once Americans arrive in Afghanistan, they are to register with the US Embassy so officials there know who is in country and why. Well, that too may now be a big problem as we evacuated the embassy and removed the flag that that database still is held by some official or was likely uploaded to a cloud system. Building on the right is the US Embassy, Kabul – source

Now the Biden administration is telling us that anyone that is in Afghanistan and wants to leave, we will get them out. Really? ‘who wants to leave’? Who the hell would want to stay? C’mon are we that stupid?

Below is a map published by al Jazeera. While I have no use for this media source…at least it does given some timeline of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan as of August 15.

The Taliban has captured 26 of the 34 provincial capitals in Afghanistan, with more than half of them falling to the armed group in less than two weeks.

The armed group is now at the gate of the capital Kabul after taking major cities such as Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif.

The group had already gained vast parts of rural Afghanistan since launching a series of offensives in May to coincide with the start of the final withdrawal of US-led foreign forces after 20 years of war.


Many in the diplomatic staff at our Kabul embassy knew precisely what the conditions on the ground were as far back as at least June. As it was getting more threatening, many of their warnings went unheard so they wrote a letter of dissent in July. Still our Secretary of State ignored the level of the threat and hence the Biden White House ignored all the same but slowly began a process.

WASHINGTON — Last month, two dozen diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, warned about the possibility of a Taliban takeover and urged the State Department to begin an airlift operation in a dissent cable sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The July 13 cable called on Washington to be firm and direct in describing atrocities by the Taliban, the source said. NBC News has not seen the cable.

A dissent channel cable is a confidential, formal way for State Department diplomats to voice disagreement or concern about U.S. policies without fear of retribution.

The cable was first Thursday by The Wall Street Journal.

The day after the cable was sent, the Biden administration announced Operation Allies Refuge, a program to transport Afghans and their families at risk of retaliation from the Taliban for their work with U.S. troops. State Department leaders sent a response a few days later thanking the writers of the dissent cable and describing the task force set up to facilitate evacuations of Special Immigrant Visa applicants, the source said.

“We value constructive internal dissent. It’s patriotic. It’s protected. And it makes us more effective,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday. “Maintaining the channel’s integrity and the notion of disciplined dissent is key to that revitalization. It’s why we keep communication strictly between the Department’s leadership and the authors of the dissent messages and why we don’t comment publicly on the substance of messages or the replies, regardless of the classification.”

Once the Taliban began the march to take over capitols and provinces, all actions needed to be launched. Nah…not until August did that even begin. Get the picture?