The United States on Friday blacklisted companies in Iran's petrochemical industry, sending a warning signal to its global customers and representing the latest effort by Washington to cut funds to the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
The Treasury Department blacklisted eight Iranian petrochemical companies owned or controlled by the government, including Bandar Imam Petrochemical Co, Bou Ali Sina Petrochemical Co and Mobin Petrochemical Co.
It was the first time Washington sanctioned the business which an administration official said is the largest source of foreign earnings for Iran's nuclear program after oil sales.
In addition, the State Department imposed sanctions on a food and beverage company based in the Mideast Gulf for "knowingly engaging" in a transaction for the purchase of petrochemical products from Iran.
"Our decision makes clear the risks involved in helping Iran evade sanctions and reaffirms that the only relief Iran will get from sanctions must come through negotiations," the US State Department said in a statement. "Iran continues to ignore its international nuclear obligations, and the result of these actions has been an unprecedented international sanctions effort aimed at convincing Iran to change its behavior. The sanctions announced today represent an important step toward that goal, as they target the individual companies that help Iran evade these efforts."
"These sanctions today send a stark message that the United States will act resolutely against attempts to circumvent US sanctions," the statement continued. "Any business that continues irresponsibly to support Iran’s energy sector or to help facilitate the nation’s efforts to evade US sanctions will face serious consequences."
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