New US sanctions target Iran's petrochemical industry

10 June, 2019, 22:14 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Kenneth McKenzie Commander of US Central Command

Mousavi said the latest sanctions undercut that overture and showed that the Trump administration's negotiating offers were "absurd, empty and fraudulent".

On Friday the Trump administration said it was imposing sanctions on Iran's largest petrochemical holding group.

"This action is a warning that we will continue to target holding groups and companies in the petrochemical sector and elsewhere that provide financial lifelines to the IRGC", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company and 39 of its subsidiaries and foreign gross sales agents.

That network comprises 40 percent of Iran's petrochemical production capacity, the US Treasury said, and produces half of the country's total petrochemical exports.

Over the recent weeks, Washington has ratcheted up pressure against Tehran with a series of sanctions, designations and military threats.

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The Trump administration went on to pursue a number of efforts meant to scuttle the agreement, including the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil, which went into full effect last month.

The US Treasury statement said Iran's oil ministry previous year awarded the IRGC's Khatam al-Anbiya - its economic development and engineering arm - 10 projects in oil and petrochemical industries worth $22bn, four times the official budget of the IRGC.

"All countries have a responsibility to react to the blatant violation of fundamental principles of worldwide law and not let the achievements of the global community regarding multilateralism fade away by US bullying and unilateral measures", he pointed out.

The United States has said it aims to intensify economic and military pressure on Iran because of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs as well as its support for proxy groups in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Further, anyone who does so themselves risks becoming a "specially designated national". But Iran's foreign ministry said it would not hold any discussions beyond the 2015 pact that Trump abandoned previous year as he pressed for tougher restrictions.

Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami noted the presence of American warships in the region on Saturday and said that the Islamic Republic's enemies are afraid of conflict because of the country's advanced offensive and defensive power, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).

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