August 20, 2022

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The United States tightens sanctions on Iran and targets Chinese and Emirati companies over oil

The United States tightens sanctions on Iran and targets Chinese and Emirati companies over oil

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a network of Chinese, Emirati and other companies it accused of helping to deliver and sell Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia, and put pressure on Tehran in its quest to revive oil. 2015 Iran nuclear deal

The US Treasury said in a statement that the network of people and entities used a network of Gulf front companies to facilitate the delivery and sale of products worth hundreds of millions of dollars from Iranian companies to China and elsewhere in East Asia.

Washington has increasingly targeted Chinese companies over Iranian petrochemical exports as prospects for reviving the nuclear deal waned.

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In Doha last week, indirect talks between Tehran and Washington ended without progress on how to salvage the deal, under which Iran curbed its nuclear program. Read more

At the time, US President Donald Trump abandoned the agreement in 2018 and reimposed sanctions, prompting Iran – which says its program is for peaceful purposes – to begin violating the agreement’s atomic limits.

“While the United States is committed to reaching an agreement with Iran that seeks a mutual return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, we will continue to use all of our powers to impose sanctions on the sale of Iranian oil and petrochemicals,” Brian said. said Nelson, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

Among those identified by the Treasury Department is Iran-based Jam Petrochemical over accusations that it exports petrochemical products to companies across East Asia, many of which have been sold to a US sanctioned company for shipment to China.

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Jam did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It also targeted UAE-based Edgar Commercial Solutions FZE, which the Treasury said had purchased and exported petrochemical products from sanctioned Iranian companies for shipment to China.

Washington said the company used Hong Kong-based front-line Lustro Industry Limited, also identified on Wednesday, to conceal its role in wholesale purchases of petrochemical products.

Ali Al-Mutawa Petroleum and Petrochemicals Trading LLC was also targeted.

Reuters could not immediately reach Edgar Commercial Solutions FZE, Listero Industry Limited and Ali Al Mutawa Petroleum and Petrochemical Trading LLC for comment.

Over the past two years, Chinese refineries have been buying large quantities of Iranian oil despite US sanctions on Iranian oil exports. Oil is the lifeblood of Iran’s economy, and Chinese imports have helped keep Tehran afloat.

Brian O’Toole, a former Treasury official, said that given Iran’s apparent reluctance to return to the nuclear deal, he expected Washington to rely more on China, “because that was the obvious point of leakage in the sanctions regime.”

“I think the message to Beijing is that as long as Iran doesn’t take seriously the return to the JCPOA clauses, you need to stop importing Iranian oil,” he said, referring to the Iran deal.

Wednesday’s move freezes the US assets of those identified and generally prevents Americans from doing business with them. Those who deal with the targeted persons and entities may also be subject to penalties.

On Wednesday, the US State Department also targeted a Vietnamese company, Truong Phat Loc Shipping Trading JSC and Singapore-based Everwin Ship Management Pte. Ltd. to participate in the transportation of Iranian petroleum products. Three Iran-based entities were also targeted in the operation.

(Report) by Daphne Psaledakis and Arshad Muhammad; Editing by Howard Goller and Alistair Bell

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