Trump administration continues to target Iranian oil

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has placed sanctions on five companies in the United Arab Emirates for their role in sales of embargoed Iranian oil in overseas markets.

According to OFAC, the companies – Petro Grand FZE, Alphabet International DMCC, Swissol Trade DMCC, Alam Althrwa General Trading LLC, and Alwaneo LLC Co. – together purchased “hundreds of thousands of metric tons” of oil from the National Iranian Oil Co. Three of the companies falsified shipping documents to conceal the origin of the oil, the Treasury agency said.

The five companies were added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List. U.S. persons and companies are generally prohibited from conducting business with individuals or entities on the list.

The Trump administration began strengthening unilateral economic sanctions against Iran after withdrawing the U.S. from the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, in May 2018. Trump has repeatedly faulted the effectiveness of the 2015 treaty.

The U.S. sanctions have especially targeted the Iranian oil sector for its alleged funding of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its terrorist activities throughout the Middle East.

“The Iranian regime uses revenues from petroleum and petrochemical sales to fund its terrorist proxies, like the IRGC-QF, instead of the health and well-being of the Iranian people,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement

“The Trump administration will continue to target and isolate those who support the Iranian regime and remains committed to facilitating humanitarian trade and assistance in support of the Iranian people,” Mnuchin added.