'The United States has hit Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) with economic sanctions due to its ties with the country’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the Treasury department has said.
The move aims to choke off financing to the country’s largest and most profitable petrochemical group and extends to its 39 subsidiaries and “foreign-based sales agents,” Treasury said in a statement.
Those include UK-based NPC International and Philippines-based and NPC Alliance Corporation that are controlled by PGPIC.
“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 in the statement.
The PGPIC group holds 40% of Iran’s total petrochemical production capacity and is responsible for 50% of the country’s petrochemical exports, Treasury said.
Treasury warned that international companies continuing to partner with PGPIC or subsidiaries and sales agents “will themselves be exposed to US sanctions.”
Following Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, US efforts over the past year to choke off Iran’s economy have angered allies as foreign companies get caught up in the dispute.
Several countries have halted oil imports from Iran, while Europe has tried to design a mechanism to continue trading with the country without violating US sanctions.
Treasury said it is penalizing PGPIC due to its links to the economic arm of the IRGC, known as Khatam al-Anbiya. The holding company has awarded contracts to Khatam al-Anbiya “generating hundreds of millions of dollars for an IRGC economic conglomerate that stretches across Iran’s major industries.”
The new sanctions come as the Trump administration has increased economic and military pressure against Iran both because of its nuclear and missile programs as well as its support for proxy groups in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.'
Read more: US imposes sanctions on Iran's largest petrochemical group
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21 February 2020
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