By Jubin Katiraie

The US placed new sanctions on Iran this Thursday, as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign to cut off all funds that the Iranian government can use to fund its regional terrorism and warmongering.

The United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced in a press release new sanctions targeting Iran’s four international petrochemical and petroleum companies, explaining that companies have transferred hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of exports from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). The NIOC, the Treasury said, is instrumental Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical industries, money from which finances the Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its terrorist proxy groups.

The sanctions also target Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (Triliance), a Hong Kong-based broker with branches in Iran and other countries, and the Iran-based branch Triliance Kish Petrochemical Company (Tiba Parsian Kish Petrochemical).

The statement read: “Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical industries are major sources of revenue for the Iranian regime and funds its malign activities throughout the Middle East. The entities targeted today facilitate Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum exports in contravention of US economic sanctions.”

It explained that these sanctions follow on from similar actions that targeted “key sources of funding for Iranian regional adventurism”. This included recent sanctions on Iran’s metals sector and the sanctions against Iran’s largest petrochemical holding group, Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), in June 2019.

OFAC designated PGPIC and its 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and foreign-based sales agents for PGPIC’s financial support to the engineering conglomerate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); Khatam al-Anbya Construction Headquarters.

The US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin said:  “Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum sectors are primary sources of funding for the Iranian regime’s global terrorist activities and enable its persistent use of violence against its own people.”

The statement further said that all those designated on Thursday who have a property and financial interests within the US or areas of US jurisdiction will see their assets frozen. All US citizens and residents are banned from engaging in transactions with those designated.

While foreign financial institutions that “knowingly facilitate significant transactions” or people that provide “material or certain other support” to the designated people risk being exposed to sanctions that will block them from accessing the US financial system or freeze the assets within US jurisdiction.