Energy

US sanctions 4 petro firms tied to IRGC Quds Force

By AFP

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Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh speaks during the opening of the annual International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran in this file photo from May 6th, 2014. [Atta Kenare/AFP]

The US on Thursday (January 23rd) slapped economic sanctions on four petroleum firms that US officials accuse of moving oil exports for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF).

The new sanctions come three weeks after the US killing of IRGC-QF commander Qassem Soleimani in a missile strike it claimed was pre-emptive.

The US Treasury identified four entities -- two based in Hong Kong, one in Shanghai and another in Dubai.

The designated firms are Triliance Petrochemical Co Ltd and Sage Energy HK Limited, both in Hong Kong, Peakview Industry Co Limited in Shanghai and Beneathco DMCC of Dubai.

Together, the Treasury said, these entities have transferred "hundreds of millions of dollars' worth" of exports from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), thereby helping to finance the IRGC-QF.

Several of them had worked to conceal the Iranian origins of the petroleum products they dealt with, the Treasury said.

NIOC, an entity instrumental in Iran's petroleum and petrochemical industries, helps to finance the IRGC-QF and its proxies, the Treasury said.

Iran's petroleum and petrochemical industries are major sources of revenue for the Iranian regime and fund its malign activities throughout the Middle East.

"Iran's petrochemical and petroleum sectors are a primary source of funding for the Iranian regime's global terrorist activities and enable its persistent use of violence against its own people," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The US has recently targeted other Iranian entities in the commodities sector, including metals companies and oil companies accused of supporting the IRGC.

Sanctions announced on January 10th targeted the 13 largest steel and iron manufacturers in Iran, who collectively generate billions in sales annually.

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