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Friday, December 9, 2022

US Sanctions Indian Company For Iran Oil Deal

Tibalaji Petrochem Private Limited "purchased millions of dollars worth of Triliance-mediated petrochemical products, including methanol and base oil, for onward shipment to China"

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INDIA: A day after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit, the United States imposed sanctions on an Indian company for buying Iranian oil and petrochemical products.

It is the first time that an Indian-based entity has been sanctioned by the United States for its involvement in trading in Iranian oil products. Iran was among India’s top three energy suppliers until May 2019, when the country stopped buying Iranian oil due to the threat of secondary sanctions from the US.

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The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday that Tibalaji Petrochem Private Limited “purchased millions of dollars worth of Triliance-mediated petrochemical products, including methanol and base oil, for onward shipment to China.”

Triliance is a Hong Kong-based broker with offices in Iran, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and Germany that was sanctioned by the US in 2020 for providing financial and technological support to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

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The sanctions targeted Iranian brokers and several front companies in India, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong that facilitated financial transfers and the transportation of Iranian oil and petrochemical products.

According to the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Tibalji Petrochem Pvt Ltd bought millions of dollars worth of petrochemical products, including methanol and base oil, from an Iranian company, Triliance, which brokers the sale of Iranian products to foreign buyers for onward shipment to China.

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“Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) approved an international network of companies involved in the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum products to end users in South and East Asia,” he added.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement, “Today’s action targets Iranian brokers and several shell companies in the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and India that facilitated financial transfers and the transportation of Iranian oil and petrochemical products.”

However, any statement from the Indian government is still awaited. Although, India halted oil imports from Iran in 2019 during the Donald Trump regime after the US failed to renew sanctions waivers for several countries, including India.

The US State Department has also imposed sanctions on two Chinese entities, Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co Ltd, which operates a commercial oil storage facility that provides a “vital pipeline” for Iran’s oil trade, and WS Shipping Co Ltd, the manager of a vessel that carried Iranian petroleum products.

The US Treasury has imposed sanctions on eight entities based in Hong Kong, Iran, India and the United Arab Emirates for their involvement in Iran’s petrochemical business. These entities included Tibalaji Petrochem.

“As Iran continues to accelerate its nuclear program in violation of the JCPOA, we will continue to accelerate our enforcement of sanctions on Iran’s oil and petrochemical sales under the authorities that would be removed under the JCPOA,” Blinken said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“Anyone involved in facilitating these illegal sales and transactions should cease and desist immediately if they want to avoid US sanctions,” he said.

Other entities sanctioned by the US Treasury Department are Iran Chemical Industries Investment Company, Middle East Kimiya Pars Co, Hong Kong-based Sierra Vista Trading Limited, UAE-based Clara Shipping LLC, UAE-based Virgo Marine, Sophychem HK based in Hong Kong. Limited and ML Holding Group Limited. Most of them were accused of helping transport Iranian oil products to China.

As a result of the sanctions, all US assets owned by the targeted entities will be frozen, while those who engage in transactions with the designated entities may be subject to sanctions or enforcement action.

Also Read: Iran Cleric Urges Tough Sanctions on Protesters amid Escalating Violence over Amini’s Death

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