US imposes sanctions on Iran's petrochem industry
Washington, June 1, 2013
The United States has blacklisted eight companies in Iran's petrochemical industry, sending a warning to the Islamic Republic's global customers as Washington strives to cut off funds to the country's nuclear programme.
Petrochemical companies owned or controlled by the Iranian government that are on the Treasury Department list include Bandar Imam Petrochemical Co, Bou Ali Sina Petrochemical Co and Mobin Petrochemical Co.
This was the first time Washington sanctioned the petrochemical industry, which an administration official said was the largest source of foreign earnings for Iran's nuclear program after oil sales.
"Companies should end immediately their purchases of Iranian petrochemical products," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on a call with reporters.
He said US officials over the last several months had been engaged in a "strong diplomatic campaign" with governments and companies around the world to make clear that sanctions could be imposed on purchases of Iran's petrochemicals.
In a related action, the US State Department imposed sanctions on Niksima Food and Beverage JLT, a frozen yogurt company based in the UAE, for "knowingly engaging" in a transaction for the purchase of petrochemical products from Iran. It also sanctioned Jam, an Iranian manufacturer and seller of petrochemicals. The sanctions effectively cut them off from the U.S. financial system.
Niksima did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Western powers believe Iran is trying to develop the ability to make nuclear weapons. Tehran has said the program is purely for generating power and for medical devices.
Sanctions imposed by the US and European Union halved Iran's oil exports last year, depriving the government of billions of dollars in revenue, increasing already high inflation and pushing down the value of its currency, the rial.
There is little evidence that the sanctions have slowed the nuclear program ahead of a presidential election in Iran scheduled for next month.
Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday he did not have high expectations that the election would change the calculus over Tehran's nuclear programme, and he repeated that it was unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
The Treasury Department also on Friday imposed sanctions on Ferland Company Limited, which is based in Cyprus and Ukraine. The US administration believes Ferland helped the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) evade oil sanctions.
Ferland did not have an immediate comment.
The Treasury Department said that on March 13 Ferland and the NITC cooperated in a scheme involving a vessel controlled by Dimitris Cambis to sell Iranian crude oil and evade Western sanctions. In March, Washington sanctioned Cambis, a Greek businessman, and said he had secretly operated a shipping network on behalf of Iran to circumvent sanctions.
"It is a losing strategy for companies to assist Iran in evading sanctions and today's announcement serves as a warning," said Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a strong supporter of tougher sanctions on Iran.
Critics of the US sanctions have said they harden Tehran's resolve to continue its nuclear programme. - Reuters
More Industry, Logistics & Shipping Stories
- Spinneys to set up distribution centre at Kizad
- Maritime courses draw more trainees
- Dow to showcase at Dubai coatings expo
- UAE aluminium sector backs Syria refugees
- Asry in big vessel repair milestone
- Flare, Jordan form parent company ‘Aereon’
- Drydocks delivers second MCV for US
- ASIS launches amphibious leisure boat
- Taskforce sought to develop Saudi downstream sector
- DP World launches $200m India project
- RAK 'exploring' ceramics unit stake sale
- Mideast carriers top global air freight growth
- DMCA launches maritime solution apps
- Saudi plans oil-to-chemicals plant at Yanbu
- Sabic gets four bids for JV with Mitsubishi Rayon
- Pentair, IDC launch industrial services JV
- Major maritime conference to be held in Dubai
- GPIC wins key IFA certification
- Gulf rules must aid e-commerce: Aramex
- Gulftainer expands 2013 ops by 50pc
- DMCA to take part in Dubai boat show
- Al Namal to launch eco-friendly chillers
- Abu Dhabi city ports to receive facelift
- Kuwait Styrene posts $180m net profit
- Drydocks set for key energy event
- Aramex launches new address check system
- Toshiba in green push at Bahrain expo
- Equate net profit surges 14pc to $1.2bn
- Shaikh Daij named new Alba chairman
- Al Abbas wins logistics rights to Sudan