Mike Pompeo: U.S. sanctioned Chinese entities for transferring oil to Iran

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at the United Against Nuclear Iran's 2019 Iran Summit, ahead of Iranian President Hassen Rouhani's expected address at the United Nations General Assembly.

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo listens during a news conference in Reykjavik (photo credit: ASGEIR ASGEIRSSON/REUTERS)
U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo listens during a news conference in Reykjavik
The Trump administration sanctioned Chinese individuals and entities for their involvement in transferring oil to Iran in violation of US sanctions, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.
“Today we are imposing sanctions on certain Chinese entities for knowingly transporting oil from Iran, contrary to United States sanctions,” Pompeo said as he spoke in New York at the United Against Nuclear Iran conference held on the sidelines of the opening of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
“Importantly, we’re also imposing sanctions on the executive officers of those companies, as well,” Pompeo said as he warned that the US would continue to take this step against any company or individual who disregard the sanctions.
“We’re telling China and all nations, know that we will sanction every violation of sanctionable activity,” Pompeo said.
The sanctions targeted five Chinese individuals and six entities, including two Cosco Shipping subsidiaries but not the parent company itself.
In addition, the US suspended the entry into the United States of senior Iranian regime officials and their families.
Pompeo said that the Trump administration is also taking “new action to disentangle the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp from the Iranian economy. The United States will intensify our efforts to educate countries and companies on the risks of doing business with IRGC entities, and we will punish them if they persist in defiance of our warnings.”
Iran committed an act of war, Pompeo said, as he charged that it was responsible for the September 14th attack on two Saudi oil facilities, that cut in half the crude output of the world’s top oil exporter. Iran has denied the allegation.
“I want you all to imagine the scene in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia earlier this month.  It was a bit before sunrise, missiles and drones rained down on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil processing site.  There were many internationals – foreigners, Americans – not too terribly far away.  Workers heard the blasts, and so did their children.
“Thank God there was no loss of life, but there could easily have been. In that sense, everyone in the region, indeed in the world, got lucky,” Pompeo said.
“It was an attack on Saudi Arabia, a sovereign state. It was indeed also an attack on the global economy,” Pompeo added.
He called on Iran to renegotiate the deal to curb its nuclear activity, known as the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The US exited the deal in 2018 in hopes of negotiating a new document that would better address its nuclear weapons ambitions and its ballistic missile program. The other five signatories to the deal, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany, are working to salvage the JCPOA.
“Iran has a long history of unprovoked aggression, 40 years now, against its own people, against its neighbors, and indeed against civilization itself,” Pompeo said. “The list is long.  From murdering and torturing their own people, to killing Americans from Lebanon to Iraq, to harboring al-Qaida even today, Iran has rampaged for four decades, and sadly with too few consequences,” he added.
"Iran has used the money it gained from the sanctions relief offered through the deal to back Hizballah, Hamas, the Houthis, and Shia militias throughout the region,” Pompeo said.  “The world too much appeased them, and then underwrote their terrorism,” he said.
The US is pressuring Iran to return to the negotiating table with the stiff sanctions regime it has imposed upon it in the last year, Pompeo said as he called on the rest of the global community to join in that effort.
“We’ve sanctioned the top-level perpetrators for their blood – for the blood they have on their hands.  The supreme leader, Foreign Minister Zarif, and the IRGC are just a few of them,” Pompeo said.
“We’ve hit the Iranian petrochemical sector, the metals sector, the banking sector with sanctions to deprive the regime of billions of dollars, and our enforcement of those sanctions has been and will continue to be relentless,” Pompeo said.  
“More than 30 nations have brought Iranian oil imports to zero.  And going forward, our sanctions on the Iranian oil sector will deprive the regime of as much as $50 billion each and every year,” Pompeo said.
“Iran responds to strength and not to supplication,” Pompeo said. While a number of countries have taken action, much more needs to be done, he said.
“I ask responsible nations:  Will you publicly condemn Iran’s malign activity?  We need you to; the world does,” Pompeo said. He asked other nations to help restore deterrents, protect freedom of navigation in global trade and help return Iran to the negotiating table.
“And will you stand with us alongside of Israel?  We need you to; the world needs you to join us,” Pompeo said.
“All nations, every nation has a duty to act.”  What will you do?,” he added.