On Monday, the US imposed sanctions on Chinese and other companies, accusing them of facilitating the sale of tens of millions of dollars worth of Iranian oil and petrochemicals to East Asia. The move comes as Washington is trying to increase pressure on Tehran to rein in its nuclear program.
The US Treasury and State Department have imposed sanctions on six companies: one in the UAE, four in Hong Kong and one in Singapore. The measures were announced in separate statements.
The US Treasury Department accuses Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries, one of the country’s largest brokerages, of using these companies to facilitate the sale of Iranian oil and petrochemicals to East Asia. She is said to use company bank accounts as well as BZNFR Trading Limited accounts from Hong Kong and Malaysia to generate millions of dollars in revenue.
The United States reports that UAE-based Blue Cactus Heavy Equipment and Machinery Spare Parts Trading Company helped sell millions of dollars worth of Iranian oil products to Hong Kong’s Triliance Petrochemical Company. The latter has been sanctioned by the US in the past. Hong Kong companies Farwell Canyon HK and Chicovi International Trading have also been sanctioned for allegedly facilitating the delivery of these goods to buyers in East Asia.
Meanwhile, the US State Department has sanctioned Singapore-based Pioneer Ship Management Services for allegedly operating a ship carrying Iranian oil products and Hong Kong-based Golden Warrior Shipping Company for alleged deals involving Iranian oil and oil products.
These measures freeze any US assets and generally bar Americans from doing business with companies. Anyone who makes certain transactions with them also risks sanctions. The measures are the third round of U.S. Iran-related sanctions on Chinese companies in the past two months.
Since taking office last year, US President Joe Biden has been reluctant to punish Chinese companies involved in oil trading with Iran in hopes of reaching an agreement to restart the nuclear deal under the so-called 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. . Attempts to revive a deal in which Iran imposed restrictions on its own nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of US and other sanctions have so far failed, prompting Washington to look for other ways to pressure Tehran.
“The United States continues to follow the path of diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPA,” said Undersecretary of the Treasury for Counterterrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Until Iran is ready to return to full compliance with its obligations, we will continue to impose sanctions on the illegal sale of Iranian oil and petrochemicals.”
Commenting on the new sanctions, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said that Iran would respond “strongly and firmly” to the continued imposition of sanctions by the White House against the Islamic Republic.