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US Sanctions More Companies and Ships Linked to Iranian Oil Trade

US sanctions Iranian oil companies and ships
U.S. continues to target Iran's oil industry for sanctions (file photo)

Published Jul 7, 2022 5:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

With the Iranian nuclear talks seemingly going nowhere along with efforts to improve the Iranian oil trade, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets announced a new wave of sanctions on companies and individuals as well as two vessels all tired to the trade in Iranian oil. This comes as the U.S. also remains in a dispute with the Iranians via the Greek courts over an oil shipment on tankers that was sanctioned in February 2022.

According to the announcement, the sanctions targeted an international network of individuals and entities spanning from Iran to Vietnam and Singapore that has used a web of Gulf-based front companies to facilitate the delivery and sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia. U.S. authorities said the network had conducted significant transactions for the sale and transport of petroleum products from Iran, dating back to at least November 2018.

“While the United States is committed to achieving an agreement with Iran that seeks a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we will continue to use all our authorities to enforce sanctions on the sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. 

The latest round of sanctions centers around an Iranian-based oil company called Jam Petrochemical Company, which the U.S. accuses of orchestrating the export of hundreds of thousands of metric tons of petrochemical products, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to companies throughout East Asia. They contend the use of front bank accounts and companies to obfuscate the shipment and sale of Iranian petrochemicals.

The sanctions also included the company believed to have purchased the oil products, Edgar Commercial Solutions, as well as a Hong Kong-based front company, Lustro Industry Limited, to disguise its role in the bulk purchase of petrochemical products. Other front companies and entities involved in the transactions ranged from the UAE to Truong Phat Loc Shipping in Vietnam and Everwin Shipmanagement in Singapore. Two chemical tankers, BS Bravo and Summer 5 linked to Truong Phat Loc Shipping, were also added to the designated list of sanctioned entities.

Iran has previously belittled the sanctions saying they are all show and have done little to slow the trade. However, in April the U.S. used the sanctions for its case in the Greek courts seeking to seize a cargo of crude on a shadowy tanker that claimed to move between Russian and Iranian ownership in a ploy to avoid EU sanctions. Greece detained the ship thinking it was Russian, but the U.S. won a court order to seize the oil saying it came from Iran and was aboard a sanctioned Russian-owned vessel.

The tanker, now showing its identity as Lana remains anchored off Piraeus, Greece after spending nearly three months in detention anchored off a Greek island. The courts reversed an earlier decision and said the tanker was released with Iran saying it would reclaim the oil offloaded by the United States to another tanker. The two tankers are near each other in the anchorage but so far it appears there has been no further transfer of the oil.