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With No Nuclear Deal In Sight, U.S. Slaps Extra Sanctions On Iran

With no nuclear deal with Iran in sight, the United States Treasury has slapped additional sanctions on companies based in Iran, China and the UAE for enabling the export of Iran’s petrochemicals. 

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) implemented new sanctions on what it called “a network of Iranian petrochemical producers” and “front companies” in China and the UAE that support Iranian petrochemical exports abroad. 

“This network helps effectuate international transactions and evade sanctions, supporting the sale of Iranian petrochemical products to customers in the PRC and the rest of East Asia,” according to a statement from the Treasury Department. 

Specifically, the Treasury Department said that the network was facilitating the sale of “hundreds of millions of dollars” in petrochemicals from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to foreign customers, including in China. 

The Iran-based companies sanctioned in this latest round include Marun Petrochemical Company, Kharg Petrochemical Company Limited, and Fanavaran Petrochemical Company. 

“Front companies” listed include Hong Kong-based Keen Well International Limited and Teamford Enterprises Limited. The list also includes UAE-based GX Shipping FZE, which is accused of concealing the source of Iranian petrochemicals, along with Future Gate Fuel and Petrochemical Trading LLC, Sky Zone Trading FZE, and Youchem General Trading FZE. 

The sanctions come as talks to return to the nuclear deal, which U.S. President Donald Trump revoked in 2018, have stalled. 

“The United States is pursuing the path of meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Absent a deal, we will continue to use our sanctions authorities to limit exports of petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemical products from Iran,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said. “The United States will continue to expose the networks Iran uses to conceal sanctions evasion activities.”

By Charles Kennedy for OIlprice.com

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