In yet another indication that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is reluctant to revive the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. Department of State issued fresh sanctions against firms across the globe involved in oil and petrochemical trade with Iran on March 2.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that the “United States is committed to significantly reducing Iranian energy exports and will sanction those facilitating Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical trade.” He also warned that the U.S. “will not hesitate to take action against those who try to circumvent” existing sanctions on Iran.
Although the U.S. first sanctioned Iran in 1979, Iran has been subjected to increased economic and political sanctions ever since the Trump administration decided to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear deal in May 2018. By imposing fresh sanctions, Trump pursued what his administration called a “maximum pressure campaign” to force Iran to renegotiate the deal and include its regional and missile policies under the deal’s purview.
The U.S. accused the sanctioned companies of “knowingly engaging” in the transport of Iranian oil and petrochemicals in violation of existing sanctions.
As per the sanction regime, the assets belonging to these companies in the U.S. will be blocked and any transactions with these companies will lead to the imposition of sanctions on others as well.