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US imposes new sanctions on Iran oil sector
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US imposes new sanctions on Iran oil sector

The US Department of the Treasury announced Monday that it was imposing new sanctions on the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), the National Iranian Tanker Company, and <21 other individuals, entities, and vessels. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated them as counterterrorism authorities for their financial support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).

The NIOC is overseen by the Ministry of Petroleum and is responsible for the “exploration, production, refining, and export” of Iran’s oil and petroleum product exports. NITC is a subsidiary of NIOC that transports the exports. Both NITC and NIOC provide the oil and tankers for the sale of oil by the IRGC-QF. NIOC and NITC collectively facilitated the collection of tens of millions of dollars in oil sale proceeds that benefitted the IRGC-QF.

NITC also allegedly played a “significant role” in oil deals used to generate revenue for the IRGC-QF and Hizballah. The Ministry of Oil has been used to “facilitate” IRGC-QF’s revenue generation scheme, including procuring US money for the IRGC-QF.

The organizations and individuals are being sanctioned for having “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, the IRGC-QF.” As part of the sanctions, all property and interests owned by any of these individuals or organizations that are subject to US jurisdictions are blocked. Individuals in the US are “generally prohibited” from transacting with them. Any foreign financial institutions that “knowingly facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to” those sanctioned face potential US sanctions.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated:

Our action will further restrict the scope of activities permitted with the designated individuals and entities, further limiting the Iranian regime’s access to funds it uses to enrich itself and support terrorism around the world. The few remaining buyers of Iranian crude oil should know that they are helping to fund Iran’s malign activity across the Middle East, including its support for terrorism.

In addition to the press release, the Department of Treasury updated a general license on humanitarian trade and issued guidance.