US sanctions network sells Iranian oil

The US Treasury said on Wednesday it was freezing the assets of members of an international network for violating oil sanctions on Tehran by selling millions of dollars worth of Iranian petrochemicals to East Asia.

The sanctions target Iranian petrochemical companies and suspected front companies in China and the United Arab Emirates for Iran’s state-owned company and Triliance, a Hong Kong-based company already under US sanctions for its dealings with Iran.

Washington previously imposed sanctions on Iranian petrochemical producers in mid-June, as well as Chinese and Indian brokers, increasing pressure amid a stalemate in talks over restoring a 2015 deal to curb the program Iranian nuclear.

“While the United States is committed to reaching an agreement with Iran that seeks a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we will continue to use all of our authorities to enforce the sanctions,” the official said. Treasury, referring to the nuclear deal. .

Wednesday’s announcement came ahead of a much-anticipated visit next week by President Joe Biden to Israel and Saudi Arabia, when efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear threat will be high on the agenda.

Sanctions were also imposed on China-based broker Jeff Gao and Indian national Mohammad Shaheed Ruknooddin Bhore for allegedly handling Triliance’s affairs.

All assets and interests of the targets in the United States will be frozen, and persons and companies based in the United States will not be able to conduct business relations with them.

A petrol station is seen in March 2022 in China, which has remained the main buyer of Iranian oil despite US sanctions A petrol station is seen in March 2022 in China, which has remained the main buyer of Iranian oil despite US sanctions Photo: AFP / Noel Celis

The US State Department announced that it is imposing parallel sanctions on 15 individuals and companies based in Iran, the United Arab Emirates and East and Southeast Asia for distributing Iranian oil and petrochemicals .

“The United States has been sincere and committed to pursuing a meaningful diplomatic path to achieve a mutual return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“It is Iran that to date has failed to demonstrate a similar commitment in this direction.”

In April 2021, the Biden administration launched a new round of negotiations with Iran in Vienna with the aim of bringing the United States back to the nuclear deal, including lifting sanctions against Iran.

But the always delicate dialogue has been at a standstill since March.

The 2015 agreement with world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, granted sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program to ensure Tehran could not develop a nuclear weapon – which he has always denied wanting to do.

But in 2018, then-President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal and reimposed heavy economic sanctions that prompted Iran to start backtracking on its own commitments.

Iran’s foreign minister said in June that “the train has still not derailed” in negotiations to reinstate the JCPOA, despite US sanctions imposed that month on the Islamic republic.

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