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Stepping up efforts to pressure Iran’s revenues, the U.S. Department of the Treasury on Thursday imposed sanctions on nine companies for producing, selling, and shipping Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals in Asia.
The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned six Iran-based petrochemical manufacturers or their subsidiaries and three firms in Malaysia and Singapore involved in facilitating the sale and shipment of petroleum and petrochemicals on behalf of Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd., an entity designated in 2020.
The nine entities sanctioned today “have played a critical role in the production, sale, and shipment of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum to buyers in Asia,” the Treasury said.
“Iran increasingly turning to buyers in East Asia to sell its petrochemical and petroleum products, in violation of U.S. sanctions,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement.
“The United States remains focused on targeting Tehran’s sources of illicit revenue, and will continue to enforce its sanctions against those who wittingly facilitate this trade.”
Persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to enforcement action, the Treasury warned.
In November, the U.S. sanctioned 13 companies in multiple jurisdictions that participated in selling Iranian petroleum products to buyers in East Asia.
Iran’s oil and petrochemicals industry and exports have been under U.S. sanctions since 2018,when then-president Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the so-called Iranian nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s oil exports. As a result, Iran’s crude oil production has dropped and its exports are covertly shipped to Asia, mostly to China, in evasion of the U.S. sanctions.
The talks between Iran and the world powers about the possibility of reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iranian nuclear deal as it is commonly known, stalled last year, and there haven’t been indications they could resume soon.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com