Published: Mon, June 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

New US sanctions on Iran target petrochemical industry

New US sanctions on Iran target petrochemical industry

"Only week-long patience proved the U.S. president's void assertion that he was willing to hold talks with Iran", Anadolu News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi citing state-run IRNA.

Mousavi said the latest sanctions undercut that overture and showed that the Trump administration's negotiating offers were "absurd, empty and fraudulent".

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman condemned the latest American sanctions imposed on Iran's petrochemical industry as a brazen instance of economic terrorism, saying the hostile move lays bare the United States hypocritical call for negotiations.

The agency also targeted the company's 39 subsidiaries, which together with the company hold 40% of the country's total petrochemical production and export 50% of Iran's petrochemical product.

On Friday, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iran's largest petrochemical company for allegedly doing business with the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which the White House branded a terrorist organization in April.

"This action is a warning that we will continue to target holding groups and companies in the petrochemical sector and elsewhere that provide financial lifelines to the IRGC", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

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The Trump administration went on to pursue a number of efforts meant to scuttle the agreement, including the reimposition of United States sanctions on Iranian oil, which went into full effect last month.

Just this week, the top American military commander in the Middle East told NBC News he believed Iran or its proxies still pose an "imminent threat" to the US.

The company has awarded engineering, procurement and construction contracts to Khatam al-Anbiya, creating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the IRGC, according to Treasury.

The former Treasury official, who asked not to be named, said the new sanctions would have little effect because most multinationals had already ceased dealing with Iran, and described them as "a public relations" move.

Over the objections of a number of US allies, Trump withdrew a year ago from the Iran nuclear deal which was brokered by the Obama administration and has since imposed sanctions on its oil, shipping, banking, and other industries in an effort to stop other countries from trading with Iran and to force Tehran to comply with Trump's demand that it end its nuclear and ballistic programs.

Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution think tank described the latest US sanctions as "a natural next step in what I think is a deliberately redundant array of restrictions".

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