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Industry sources dismiss US bans on Iran’s petrochemical plants as theatrical

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)
Industry sources dismiss bans imposed on Iran’s petchem plants as a theatrical move by Washington.

Petrochemical industry sources in Iran have dismissed recent American sanctions imposed on three major petrochemical companies in the country as a “theatrical move” and insist the bans will have no tangible impact on Iran’s growing sales of petchem products to foreign customers.

“This is not a new development, it is simply a theater show with political objectives,” said Ahmad Mahdavi, who leads the top syndicate of petrochemical plants in Iran, on Saturday.

Mahdavi said the three companies sanctioned by the US Treasury Department earlier this week, namely Fanavaran Petrochemical Company, Kharg Petrochemical Company and Marun Petrochemical Company, had all previously been subject to similar American bans.

“They wanted to show they have done something new in the field of sanctions ... but this show has been repeated several times and has had no result for them,” Ahmadi, a former member of the Iranian parliament, was quoted as saying by the IRIB News.

Another industry source said the new US sanctions will do nothing to stop the exports of petrochemical products from Iran.

“Iran’s petrochemical industry in its entirety is sanctioned and plants have to use unconventional methods to sell and export their products,” said Mohammad Eslami, who serves as the CEO of the Mehr Petrochemicals, a company based in southern Iran.

Financial experts say the new sanctions will also fail to stymie the flow of exports proceeds into the Iranian petrochemical sector.

Mohammad Hassan Malihi, a stock market analyst, told the Tasnim news agency that almost no petrochemical company in Iran has an account in foreign banks because of the US sanctions, adding that plants normally receive exports proceeds through third parties.

Iranian government figures show exports of petrochemicals from the country reached a record of $14.5 billion over the calendar year to late March.

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