- US Treasury official visiting Middle East to enforce sanctions.
- Officials, businesses, and institutions warned of consequences for dealing with sanctioned entities.
- Focus of trip is to combat Russian sanctions evasion and promote sanctions compliance.
Brian Nelson, the Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the US Treasury Department, is embarking on a trip to Turkey, the UAE, and Oman to emphasize Washington's efforts in enforcing its sanctions. During his visit from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, he will meet with government officials, financial institutions, and businesses to warn them about the consequences of doing business with entities under US sanctions. Nelson will emphasize that individuals and institutions operating with sanctioned entities could risk losing access to the US market.
The main focus of the trip is to discuss the Treasury's efforts in cracking down on Russian attempts to evade sanctions imposed due to its war in Ukraine. In addition to that, Nelson will also discuss Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, the threat of illicit finance on economic growth, and foreign investment.
The visit comes amid strained relations between the US and Turkey, with the two NATO allies disagreeing on several issues. Nelson will visit the Turkish capital, Ankara, and financial hub Istanbul on Feb. 2-3 and caution Turkish businesses and banks to avoid transactions related to dual-use technology that could benefit Russia's military.
Washington is also concerned about evasion of US sanctions on Iran, and while in the UAE, Nelson will highlight the "poor sanctions compliance" in the country. The US has imposed sanctions on UAE-based firms over Iran sanctions evasion and has recently designated a UAE-based aviation firm over its support to the Russian mercenary group, the Wagner Group, fighting in Ukraine.
Turkey has opposed Western sanctions on Russia, but has pledged not to circumvent international sanctions. Some Turkish firms have purchased or sought to buy Russian assets from Western partners who have pulled back due to the sanctions, while others maintain large assets in Russia.