The US announced new sanctions Thursday targeting an international network of financiers and shipping companies that allegedly help Iran sell hundreds of millions of dollars of oil in violation of restrictions.

The sales were made to purchasers in South and East Asia and the US blacklistings target Iranian brokers and several front companies in Hong Kong, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Treasury Department said in a statement.

“The United States is committed to severely restricting Iran’s illicit oil and petrochemical sales,” said Brian Nelson, the agency’s financial intelligence chief.

“So long as Iran refuses a mutual return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the United States will continue to enforce its sanctions on the sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products,” he added.

The sanctions are reversible if the US and Iran strike an agreement to mutually return to the 2015 landmark JCPOA nuclear deal. Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the pact in a futile effort to get Iran to re-negotiate it.

Trump’s actions only resulted in Iran reneging on many of its JCPOA commitments.

Among those sanctioned are Iran Chemical Industries Investment Company and Middle East Kimiya Pars Co., two Iran-based firms that allegedly shipped Iranian oil to India and India-based Tibalaji Petrochem Private Limited, which the Treasury Department said “purchased millions of dollars worth of” Iranian oil.

Hong Kong-based Sierra Vista Trading Limited was used to help conceal sanctions violations, as were UAE-based front companies Clara Shipping LLC and Virgo Marine, it said.

In all, eight entities were blacklisted by the Treasury Deepartment.

The State Department separately designated two China-based firms, Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co. Ltd. and WS Shipping Co. Ltd.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the storage company operates a commercial oil storage facility used to store Iranian oil, which “provides a vital conduit for the Iranian petroleum trade.” The shipping company, he said, is the ship manager for a vessel that has been used to transport Iranian petroleum.

“As Iran continues to accelerate its nuclear program in violation of the JCPOA, we will continue to accelerate our enforcement of sanctions on Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical sales under authorities that would be removed under the JCPOA,” he said.

Source » aa