Jun 16, 2022 - World

Biden administration ramps up Iran sanctions as nuclear talks falter

Chemical storage tanks stand at petrochemical complex in Iran

Chemical storage tanks stand at the Arya Sasol Polymer Co. petrochemical complex in Asaluyeh, Iran. Photo: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday unveiled new sanctions against a network of Iranian petrochemical producers, as well as front companies in China and the United Arab Emirates that help support the brokering of international sales of Iranian petrochemicals.

Driving the news: The new sanctions come as negotiations between the U.S. and Iran over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal have hit a stalemate.

  • The network of entities targeted by the new sanctions "helps effectuate international transactions and evade sanctions," of Iranian petrochemicals, and supports their sale in China and the rest of East Asia, according to a Treasury Department press release.

The big picture: Three Iran-based companies have been sanctioned for selling petrochemicals to Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd. and Iran’s Petrochemical Commercial Company (PCC), both of which broker the international sales of petrochemicals, per the press release.

  • Two Hong Kong-based companies have been sanctioned for facilitating payments and transactions on behalf of Triliance.
  • Four front companies and partners in the UAE have been sanctioned for concealing Triliance's role in purchases and transactions of petrochemicals, among other forms of support.
  • Jingfeng Gao, a Triliance broker in China who has handled petrochemical transactions for the company, and Mohammad Shaheed Ruknooddin Bhore, who manages multiple front companies for Triliance from India, have also been sanctioned.

What they're saying: “The United States is pursuing the path of meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with" the 2015 nuclear deal, Brian Nelson, the undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in the press release.

  • "Absent a deal, we will continue to use our sanctions authorities to limit exports of petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemical products from Iran,” he added.
  • "The United States will continue to expose the networks Iran uses to conceal sanctions evasion activities.”
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