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US targets UAE-based firms for shipping Iranian oil

By AFP

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Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh arrives for the 177th OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, on December 5th, 2019. [Joe Klamar/AFP]

The US on Thursday (March 19th) slapped sanctions on five companies based in the UAE for allegedly shipping oil from Iran in defiance of previous sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

The Treasury Department said that the five companies bought hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes' worth of oil last year from Iran's state oil company, declaring it to be from Iraq or otherwise disguising its origin.

"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," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The US "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", he said.

He was referring to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Quds force, whose commander, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US drone strike in January at Baghdad's airport.

The sanctions will block any US assets of the five companies and prohibit any transactions with them.

The five companies are Petro Grand FZE, Alphabet International DMCC, Swissol Trade DMCC, Alam Althrwa General Trading LLC and Alwaneo LLC Co.

At least three of these companies have falsified documents to conceal the Iranian origin of these shipments, the Treasury said.

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