US Sanctions Firms For Helping Iran Ship Oil To East Asia

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The Biden administration on Monday imposed sanctions on companies in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong that it says help transport Iranian oil to East Asia.

The Treasury Department said the companies together form the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. helped to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products. Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. has been sanctioned by the US since 2019.

Treasury announced sanctions against four companies: one in the UAE and three others in Hong Kong. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also sanctioned two shipping companies for transporting the oil from Iran to East Asia.

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The new sanctions come as the Biden administration continues to push for a return to the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Those efforts appear to have stalled, but officials say they are still trying to convince Iran to return to the agreement.

“The United States continues to follow the path of diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Brian Nelson, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement Monday.

“Until Iran is ready to return to full implementation of its obligations, we will continue to enforce sanctions on the illegal sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals,” Nelson said.

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During a trip to Israel last month, President Biden said the US would not wait “eternally” for Iran to return to the nuclear deal, without establishing a specific timeline. Former President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and Biden campaigned to re-join the accord, which he believes is the best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

“They have the chance to accept; this agreement has been established. If they don’t, we’ve made it absolutely clear: we won’t — let me say it again — we won’t allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Biden said during a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Yair. Lapid in July.

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On Monday, Treasury appointed UAE-based Blue Cactus Heavy Equipment and Machinery Spare Parts Trading LLC, as well as Hong Kong-based Farwell Canyon HK Limited, Shekufei International Trading Co., Limited and PZNFR Trading Limited.

The companies sanctioned by the State Department are Pioneer Shipmanagement PTE LTD and Golden Warrior Shipping Co. Ltd.

The Biden administration announced a similar round of sanctions in early July.

Updated at 15:29