US imposes new sanctions on Iran oil exports and front companies abroad

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The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on companies it suspects of involvement in Iran's petrochemical and petroleum trade, including some based in China, as Washington warned of further actions to enforce its economic curbs on Tehran.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Washington placed sanctions on two China-based companies, Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co. Ltd, and WS Shipping Co Ltd, part of attempts to thwart sanctions evasion on the sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products.

The US Treasury Department also slapped sanctions on a network of companies involved in what it said was the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petrochemical and petroleum products to users in South and East Asia.

The action targeted Iranian brokers and front companies in the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and India, the Treasury said in a statement.

Washington and Tehran's indirect talks to revive a 2015 nuclear pact, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have broken down.

“As Iran continues to accelerate its nuclear program in violation of the JCPOA, we will continue to accelerate our enforcement of sanctions on Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical sales under authorities that would be removed under the JCPOA,” Blinken said in the statement.

“These enforcement actions will continue on a regular basis, with an aim to severely restrict Iran’s oil and petrochemical exports.”

Blinken warned anyone involved in such sales and transactions should stop immediately if they wish to avoid being subjected to US sanctions.

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