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US imposes bans on firms in China, UAE and Vietnam over dealings involving Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo taken on March 27, 2020, an exterior view of the building of US Department of the Treasury is seen in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Companies in China, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam have been slapped with US sanctions over dealings related to Iran’s trade of energy products as Washington continues its economic pressure campaign on Iran in the final days of President Donald Trump in office.

A Wednesday statement by the US Treasury Department said that four of the five companies blacklisted by the new sanctions had helped an already banned company based in Hong Kong to purchase and transfer Iranian petrochemical products.

The firms included China-based Donghai International Ship Management Ltd, China-based Petrochem South East Limited, UAE-based Alpha Tech Trading FZE, UAE-based Petroliance Trading FZE and Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation.

The companies in China and the UAE have been targeted because of providing support to Triliance Petrochemical Co Ltd., a firm based in Hong Kong that had already been blacklisted by Washington in January for allegedly transferring the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of exports from the National Iranian Oil Company.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the Wednesday statement that Washington will continue to target any entity that supports actors engaged in the movement of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical sales.

The sanctions bar Americans and non-Americans from dealing with the blacklisted companies while they freeze any assets held by the companies in the US.

The new sanctions are part of a wider effort by Trump’s administration to harm Iran economically. The bans, which rolled out in mid-2018 after Trump withdrew from an international deal on Iran’s nuclear activity, have even intensified in Trump’s final days in office as experts believe Trump wants to make it harder for his successor Joe Biden to lift the sanctions and return the US to the nuclear deal.

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