US targeting petroleum and petrochemicals in new sanctions against Iran

US targeting petroleum and petrochemicals in new sanctions against Iran

The United States unveiled a new sanctions package against Iran targeting facilitators of the country’s petroleum and petrochemical industries.

The sanctions were mainly aimed at East Asian companies accused of purchasing from a shipment of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals, which Tehran relies on for considerable income.

Iran has had to rely on east Asian markets for their sales due to U.S. sanctions. The Treasury is now seeking to throttle this income stream as well.

“Iran increasingly turning to buyers in East Asia to sell its petrochemical and petroleum products, in violation of U.S. sanctions,” Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement from the Treasury.

“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,” he added.

The newly sanctioned companies are based out of Singapore and Malaysia.

The Treasury’s “Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned nine entities across multiple jurisdictions that 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 statement read. “Treasury is targeting 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., which OFAC designated on January 23, 2020 for facilitating the sale of Iranian petroleum products from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).”

In accordance with the new sanctions package, any assets in the U.S. belonging to those targeted in the sanctions are now blocked. The new sanctions follow a Nov. 17 sanctions package targeting companies based in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, which are similarly accused of transporting Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals.

“Today’s action further demonstrates the complex sanctions evasion methods Iran employs to illicitly sell petroleum and petrochemical products,” Nelson was quoted as saying at the time. “The United States will continue to implement sanctions against those actors facilitating these sales.”

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