The United States has imposed sanctions on nine companies it accused of playing a “critical role” in the production, sale and shipment of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum to buyers in Asia.
The US Treasury Department announced in a statement on February 9 that it is targeting six Iran-based petrochemical manufacturers or their subsidiaries and three companies in Malaysia and Singapore that are involved in facilitating the sale and shipment of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum on behalf of Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd.
This firm was already designated in January 2020 for “facilitating the sale of Iranian petroleum products from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC),” Treasury said.
Iran is “increasingly turning to buyers in East Asia to sell its petrochemical and petroleum products, in violation of US sanctions,” said Brian Nelson, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
“The United States remains focused on targeting Tehran’s sources of illicit revenue, and will continue to enforce its sanctions against those who wittingly facilitate this trade.”
Iranian oil exports hit new highs in the last two months of 2022 despite U.S. sanctions, with China and Venezuela being the main buyers, Reuters reported earlier this year.
Former US President Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers and reimposed sanctions aimed at curbing oil exports and the associated revenue to Iran's government.
Efforts to revive the deal have stalled, and ties between Tehran and the West are increasingly strained amid a bloody crackdown by the Islamic Republic on anti-government protests that have swept Iran for more than four months.