The US Treasury Department said in a statement that it had blacklisted the four entities for facilitating the export of Iranian petrochemicals by Triliance Petrochemical Company, which was hit with sanctions by Washington earlier this year.
The Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation was also targeted by Wednesday’s decision, which comes amid a series of sanctions announced by Washington, for its connection to important transactions for the transport of petroleum products from Iran, a declared the Treasury.
The action comes as the Trump administration has imposed almost daily sanctions over the past few weeks, many of which have targeted Iran. Analysts have said the sanctions pressuring Tehran appear designed to complicate President-elect Joe Biden’s path to renegotiate a nuclear deal with Iran.
“Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum sectors are the main sources of funding for the Iranian regime, which it uses to support its malicious domestic and foreign agenda,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
“The United States will act against those who support illicit actors engaged in the movement of Iranian sales of petroleum and petrochemicals,” he added.
Sanctions freeze all U.S. corporate assets and generally prevent Americans from doing business with them. Foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate transactions for blacklisted people are also at risk of sanctions, the Treasury said.
The move imposed sanctions on China-based Donghai International Ship Management Limited, China-based Petrochem South East Limited, UAE-based Alpha Tech Trading FZE and UAE-based Petroliance Trading FZE.
In January, Washington blacklisted Hong Kong-based Triliance Petrochemical Co Ltd and three other petrochemical and petroleum companies that the Treasury said collectively transferred the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of exports from the National Iranian Oil Company.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have escalated since Trump abandoned President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal in 2015 and reinstated tough sanctions to pressure Tehran to negotiate deeper restrictions on its nuclear program, the development of ballistic missiles and support for regional substitute forces.
President-elect Joe Biden, who is due to take office on Jan.20, has said he will bring the United States back to the Obama-era deal if Iran regains respect.