The Obama Administration, seeking to further curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions, has imposed sanctions on the Persian Gulf nation’s petrochemical industry. Petrochemicals are Iran’s second-largest source of foreign revenue after oil, which is already heavily sanctioned by the U.S. and its allies.
Under the new sanctions, any U.S.-held assets of blacklisted petrochemical companies will be frozen and the companies will be banned from doing business with any U.S. firms.
“We are committed to intensifying the pressure against Iran, not only by adopting new sanctions but also by actively enforcing our sanctions and preventing sanctions evasion,” says David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran’s atomic activities are a cover to develop nuclear weapons capability. Iran says the program is for generating power and other peaceful purposes.
Eight petrochemical companies owned or controlled by the government of Iran have been identified by the Treasury Department for sanctions: Bandar Imam Petrochemical, Bou Ali Sina Petrochemical, Mobin Petrochemical, Nouri Petrochemical, Pars Petrochemical, Shahid Tondgooyan Petrochemical, Shazand Petrochemical, and Tabriz Petrochemical.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, “must understand that every day going forward will result in increased economic hardship unless Iran changes course immediately,” says Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.