US imposes new sanctions on Iran oil exports, targets Chinese firms


WASHINGTON – The United States on Thursday (September 29) imposed sanctions on companies it accused of involvement in Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum trades, including five in China, and is pressuring Tehran as it seeks to renege on the Iran nuclear deal from 2015 to revive.

Washington has increasingly targeted Chinese companies for exporting Iranian petrochemicals as prospects for a revival of the nuclear pact have dimmed. Indirect talks on the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have collapsed.

“As long as Iran refuses a mutual return to fully implement the joint comprehensive plan of action, the United States will continue to enforce its sanctions against the sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products,” Brian, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Nelson said in a Explanation.

The Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate statement that the State Department had named two China-based companies, Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co Ltd and WS Shipping Co Ltd.

Blinken accused Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co Ltd of operating a commercial crude storage facility for Iranian petroleum and WS Shipping Co Ltd of being ship manager for a ship that has been transporting Iranian petroleum products.

Reuters could not immediately reach the two companies for comment.

The US Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on a network of companies involved in selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petrochemical and petroleum products to South and East Asia.

The action targeted Iranian brokers and front companies in the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and India, the Ministry of Finance said.

Washington warned it would not further accelerate enforcement of sanctions against Iran’s sale of oil and petrochemicals as long as Tehran continues to accelerate its nuclear program.

WITHDRAWAL ECONOMY

The 2015 nuclear deal limited Iran’s uranium enrichment activities to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons, in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

But then-US President Donald Trump denounced the deal in 2018, saying it had not done enough to curb Iran’s nuclear activities, ballistic missile program and regional influence, and re-imposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

“These enforcement actions continue on a regular basis with the aim of severely restricting Iran’s oil and petrochemical exports,” Blinken said.

Anyone involved in such sales and transactions should stop immediately if they wish to avoid exposure to US sanctions, he said.

As part of Thursday’s action, the Treasury Department targeted several companies accused of doing business with Hong Kong-based Triliance Petrochemical Co Ltd, which had previously been sanctioned by the United States.

Indian-based petrochemical company Tibalaji Petrochem Private Limited was said to have bought multimillion-dollar products brokered by Triliance for onward shipment to China.

The Treasury Department also accused UAE-based Clara Shipping LLC of paying Triliance — through front companies — millions of dollars in freight charges to ship Iranian petrochemical and petroleum products to East Asia.

Also named for dealings with Triliance were Iran-based Iran Chemical Industries Investment Company and Middle East Kimiya Pars Co, Hong Kong-based Sierra Vista Trading Limited and UAE-based Virgo Marine.

Hong Kong-based Sophychem HK Limited and ML Holding Group Limited have been appointed to do business with US-designated trading company Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries, including the purchase of Iranian petrochemicals for shipment to China and Singapore.

Reuters could not immediately reach the companies for comment.

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