With only a slim chance for reviving Iran’s nuclear deal, Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran, targeting its petrochemicals export.
It was on this Friday that the US Treasury department announced it had imposed new sanctions against Iran’s oil export. “Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned a network of Iranian petrochemical producers, as well as front companies in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that support Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (Triliance) and Iran’s Petrochemical Commercial Company (PCC), entities instrumental in brokering the sale of Iranian petrochemicals abroad,” the Treasury Department said in a statement Friday. It also added that “this network helps effectuate international transactions and evade sanctions, supporting the sale of Iranian petrochemical products to customers in the PRC and the rest of East Asia.”
The sanctions also targeted individuals such as Jingfeng Gao and Mohammad Shaheed Ruknooddin Bhore. The former is a PRC-based broker for Triliance who has been involved in multi-million-dollar transactions for Iranian petrochemicals on behalf of Triliance. And the latter is an India-based Indian national, who managed multiple Triliance front companies, including Dynapex Energy Limited, Petroliance Trading FZE, and YouChem.
Immediately after the announcement of the new sanctions against Iran, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement that “the United States is at the same time pursuing the path of meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”
Good to mention that Friday’s move was completely contrary to the efforts for reviving Iran’s nuclear deal known as the JCPOA. Under the terms of the nuclear agreement that was inked in 2015, Iran limited its nuclear program in exchange for sanction reliefs. There is fear, especially for Washington, that Iran may want to go nuclear and build nuclear bomb in the future. And the above-mentioned deal was aimed at making it harder for Tehran to obtain a nuclear bomb.
Iran, however, has asserted countless times that it is not at all seeking nuclear weapons. It has said that the nuclear program of the country is all peaceful and in line with the IAEA instructions.
Iran’s reaction to the new sanctions
Hours after the announcement by the US Treasury Department, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi criticized the move. “I am surprised (by the behavior) of the Americans. On the one hand, they send a message in favor of negotiations and agreement, and on the other hand, they lengthen the list of sanctions. I don’t understand how this works,” Raisi noted, adding also that “the world must give us the right not to trust the United States because they are violating their agreements.”
Likewise, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy rebuked Washington for the new sanctions, describing them as ineffective. “Our petrochemical industry and its products have long been under sanctions, but our sales have continued through various channels and shall continue to do so,” Mehdi Safari said Friday.
Despite no breach of the JCPOA from the part of Iran, the then-US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal back in 2018. This made many of the removed sanctions come back, with Washington imposing even new harsher sanctions against Tehran.
Since Trump left office and Joe Biden came to the White House, however, talks to revive the nuclear agreement began. But despite Biden himself and many other US officials have so far expressed their willingness to come back to the JCPOA, the deal is still in a limbo.