Companies Schlepping Iranian Oil to East Asia Face Stiff Sanctions From the US

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Keeping U.S, interests well protected is something we as a nation take incredibly seriously. Given the state of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, they tend to keep an eye on everything the country does and how its economy is changing.

Recently, it was uncovered by the U.S. Treasury Department that companies were working to help Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. to move tens of millions of dollars in petroleum and petrochemical products out of the country. Due to their involvement with their home country of Iran, they have been under U.S. sanctions since 2019.

With one company being headquartered in the United Arab Emirates and three others belonging to Hong Kong, this was not a small operation. Along with these companies, two separate shipping companies were sanctioned for their role in shipping the oil from Iran to East Asia. The level of sanctions and repercussions for these companies is not yet known.

These sanctions come as President Biden is trying to get the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) back in action. While efforts have proven to be unsuccessful so far, officials have claimed that they are not ready to give up and they are doing everything in their power to get Iran back to the table. The JCPOA if you remember gave Iran a deal that made them happy and allowed them to keep doing business as usual, but some companies were paid off, and the U.S. largely stayed away from their affairs as a result.

Brian Nelson, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence issued a statement on August 1st about the new sanctions and the JCPOA. “The United States continues to pursue the path of diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Until such time as Iran is ready to return to full implementation of its commitments, we will continue to enforce sanctions on the illicit sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals.”

Back in July, while visiting Israel, Biden laid the cards out on the table for the Iranians and explained that he doesn’t have the patience or ability to wait forever for them to honor the JCPOA. While President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 citing its lack of enforcement and poor writing, Biden alleges that it is the best way of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“They have an opportunity to accept; this agreement has been laid down. If they don’t, we have made it absolutely clear: We will not — let me say it again — we will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.” This statement by Biden at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid during this July visit was meant to show a sign of both countries working together to get this plan back in motion with Iran.

What it did was the same as what UN weapons inspectors and U.S. sanctions have done for the situation – not a single thing. What President Biden and others alongside him have yet to figure out is that countries like Iran, North Korea, and now China don’t respect sanctions. Neither do other counties that are very poor, or companies desperate to make a quick buck. 

Along with the sanctions, the U.S. Treasury listed UAE-based Blue Cactus Heavy Equipment and Machinery Spare Parts Trading LLC, as well as Hong Kong-based Farwell Canyon HK Limited, Shekufei International Trading Co., Limited, and PZNFR as “Trading Limited.” This designation often means people can only sell off shares, and not buy new ones, but each case is different. As for the shipping companies sanctioned, they are listed as Pioneer Shipmanagement PTE LTD and Golden Warrior Shipping Co. Ltd.

They will do what it takes to achieve success, and U.S. sanctions be damned. We need to be worried…