US sanctions four Chinese, UAE-based companies over sale of Iranian petrochemicals

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)
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

The United States has blacklisted four Chinese and UAE-based companies over supporting the sale of Iranian petrochemicals as US President Donald Trump increases pressure on Tehran in the final days of his administration.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the US Treasury Department announced that it has imposed sanctions on China-based Donghai International Ship Management Ltd, China-based Petrochem South East Limited, UAE-based Alpha Tech Trading FZE and UAE-based Petroliance Trading FZE for facilitating the export of Iranian petrochemical products through Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd, which is already under the US sanctions.

Moreover, the Treasury noted that it has targeted Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation for its role in the transport of petroleum products from Iran.

“The United States will act against persons who support illicit actors engaged in the movement of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical sales,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed in the statement.

Tensions between Iran and the US drastically increased after the Trump administration reimposed anti-Iran sanctions in 2018 after leaving a historic and internationally-lauded nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

Departure from the deal -- that is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- and restoration of the bans both constituted illegal actions because they came in absolute disregard for the fact that the JCPOA has been ratified by the United Nations Security Council. The illegal measures were also marked by sheer unilateralism as they violated the international nature of the deal that has the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany as its other parties.

However, US President-elect Joe Biden has promised to return the United States to the Obama-era deal.

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