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U.S. blacklists 11 companies for aiding Iran’s export of petroleum

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Sept. 3 (UPI) — In a move to block Iran from a key revenue source, the Trump administration on Thursday blacklisted 11 foreign companies that aid Iran in the sale of petroleum and in violation of U.S. sanctions.

The Treasury sanctioned six companies based in Iran, the United Arab Emirates and China for supporting the sale and shipment of Iranian petrochemical products through hiding their place of origin — Triliance Petrochemical, which was designated by the Treasury in January.

The Department of State sanctioned five Iranian, Chinese and UAE companies and three individuals who serve as principal executive officers at those entities, which the United States accuses of purchasing, acquisitioning, selling, transporting or marketing Iran’s petroleum products.

The moves are the latest in the Trump administration’s so-called extreme pressure campaign that began when President Donald Trump slapped sanctions against Iran and pulled the United States from an Obama era-nuclear accord aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in 2018.

The Treasury said Thursday that Iranian petrochemical sales are a key source of funds to the sanction-hobbled Iran and helps to finance its destabilizing activities and prop up regimes and terrorist groups throughout the Middle East and Venezuela where the United States has also been tightening its political and economic vises to oust its embattled president, Nicolas Maduro.

“The Iranian regime uses revenue from petrochemical sales to continue its financing of terrorism and destabilizing foreign agenda,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The Trump administration remains committed to targeting those contributing to Iran’s attempts to evade U.S. sanctions by facilitating the illicit sale of Iranian petroleum products around the world.”

Triliance was sanctioned early this year along with three other petrochemical and petroleum companies for transferring hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of exports from the National Iranian Oil Company, which supports Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Gaurd Corps — an arm of the Iranian military that the State Department designated as a Foreign Terrorist organization in April of 2019.

The Treasury accuses Triliance of using front companies in the sale of petroleum products and the companies it sanctioned Thursday aid Iran in the export of those products.

Of the companies blacklisted, the Hong Kong-based Zagros Petrochemical Company was designated for agreeing to sell hundreds of thousands of metric tons of petrochemicals to Triliance, which used the UAE-based Petrotech to buy the products on its behalf and hide its involvement in the deal. Petrotech was also sanctioned Thursday.

The sanctions freeze all U.S. assets of those blacklisted and prohibit Americans from doing business with them or risk being sanctioned themselves.

The Treasury also sanctioned Trio Energy DMCC, Jingho Technology Co. Ltd., Dynapex Energy Ltd. and Dinrin Ltd. for their efforts to hide Triliance’s involvement in petrochemical trades.

The State Department sanctioned Iran-based Abadan Refining Company, UAE-based Chemtrans Petrochemicals Trading LLC and China-based Zhihang Ship Management Co. Ltd., New Far International Logistics LLC and Sino Energy Shipping Ltd.

Min Shi of New Far, Zuoyou Lin of Sino Energy and Alireza Amin of Abadan were also blacklisted by the State Department.

“Our actions today reaffirm the United States’ commitment to denying the Iranian regime the financial resources it needs to fuel terrorism and other destabilizing activities,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “We call on the regime yet again to stop undermining the Iranian people’s prosperity by exploiting Iran’s natural resources to sow chaos and destruction.”

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