Category Archives: Valentin KATASONOV

The “Black Knights” are the Partisan Fighters in an Economic War, by Valentin Katasonov

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Occasionally while discussing issues related to the West’s economic sanctions against various countries, the subject of the «black knights» crops up. The term «black knight» is given to the small trading partners of a country that is affected by sanctions. They act as intermediaries, facilitating trade and economic relations between that country and the rest of the world. Currently, «black knights» are doing business on such a huge scale that the companies themselves are finding their own clients from among the countries under sanctions, and those nations are able to select the intermediaries that best fit their needs.

Most of the information about the activities of «black knights» comes from media outlets with ties to Iran. Some experts argue that the first «black knights» appeared on Iran’s horizon immediately after Washington introduced sanctions against that country in 1979. Some of them were thought to already have experience working with other countries under sanctions, such as Cuba, South Africa, and Rhodesia. The «black knights» that are now offering their services to Iran are registered in some of the farthest-flung corners of the globe: Latin America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the CIS countries. And from time to time they may change the country in which they are registered or simply vanish without a trace. In the latter case, it means that the firm had been established for merely a single day’s work on a single transaction.

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