US sanctions Iranian metal companies, merchants


A picture taken April 6th, 2015 shows molten metal at the Iran Alloy Steel Company plant in the central Iranian city of Yazd. [Atta Kenare/AFP]

A picture taken April 6th, 2015 shows molten metal at the Iran Alloy Steel Company plant in the central Iranian city of Yazd. [Atta Kenare/AFP]

The US Treasury Department on Thursday (June 25th) unveiled new sanctions against the Iranian metallurgical sector, blacklisting several companies including subsidiaries of the country's main steel producer.

In a statement, the Treasury said its Office of Foreign Assets Control was sanctioning four companies and four sales agents as part of a crackdown on companies believed to fund either Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or the country's "destabilising behaviour" worldwide.

"The Iranian regime continues to use profits from metals manufacturers and foreign sales agents to fund destabilising behaviour around the world," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

"The US remains committed to isolating key sectors of the Iranian economy until the revenues from such sectors are refocused toward the welfare of the Iranian people," he added.

Mobarakeh Steel Company subsidiaries

The sanctions target five subsidiaries of Iran's Mobarakeh Steel Company, which the Treasury said generates 1% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

Four of the sanctioned subsidiaries are sales agents operating in either Germany or the UAE, while one is a manufacturing subsidiary based in Iran.

Germany-based Tara Steel Trading GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mobarakeh Steel Company that has been engaged in the wholesale of metals and metal ores in Europe, the Treasury said.

Pacific Steel FZE, Better Future General Trading Co LLC and Tuka Metal Trading DMCC are UAE-based sales agents and trading companies that are majority-owned by Mobarakeh Steel Company and have engaged in the import and export of Iranian metal products in the region.

Metil Steel is an Iran-based steel producer and exporter that is majority-owned by Mobarakeh Steel Company.

Iranian aluminum, steel and iron producers

Also targeted were three aluminum, steel and iron producers in Iran, which the Treasury said contributed to billions of dollars in sales and exports every year.

These have been named as South Aluminum Company, an Iran-based aluminum producer; Sirjan Jahan Steel Complex, an Iran-based steel and iron producer that maintains four different manufacturing facilities; and Iran Central Iron Ore Company, an Iran-based iron producer that exports iron products.

Concurrently, the US Department of State also sanctioned Global Industrial and Engineering Supply Ltd., an entity with addresses in mainland China and Hong Kong, saying it "knowingly transferred 300 metric tonnes of graphite" to the sanctioned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.

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