US imposes new sanctions on Iran—for third time this week
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) On Thursday, the US announced a new set of sanctions on Iran. They target the evasion of previous sanctions related to Iranian petrochemical and petroleum exports to China.
The new sanctions reflect the waning expectations of the US and its European allies that it is possible, under any reasonable terms, to renew the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord, concluded under the presidency of Barack Obama and formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.)
Thursday’s measures are the third set of Iranian sanctions announced by Washington this week. On Tuesday, the US imposed sanctions related to Iran’s sale of military drones to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Washington added sanctions for Iranian human rights violations, particularly the collaboration of journalists at the state-run media outlet, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, with Iranian intelligence in eliciting and broadcasting forced confessions from Iranian protestors.
On Thursday, it was sanctions for smuggling oil and petrochemical products to East Asia. That is largely China, the biggest buyer of such Iranian exports.
Increased Chinese Imports of Iranian Oil—part of Strategic Accord
There are close ties between China and Iran. In March 2021, the two countries signed a 25-year “strategic accord” that includes military, security, and economic cooperation.
The US regards China as a major rival, what it regularly calls “the pacing challenge,” even while Washington now egards Russia as the immediate threat.
Soon after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which was followed by US and European measures to cut Russian oil exports, China increased its energy purchases from Iran, while reducing them from Russia, as The Wall Street Journal explained then.
The US has responded with three successive measures aimed at blocking, or at least limiting, Iranian oil sales to China. Thursday’s action was the most recent.
Thus, on Aug. 1, Washington issued sanctions which targeted Iranian and Chinese companies, as well as those in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hong Kong, and Singapore involved in facilitating the Chinese import of Iranian oil products.
The US issued a second set of sanctions on Sept. 29. Those sanctions targeted three shipping companies in Dubai, along with two Iranian chemical companies, and one chemical company in Hong Kong. They also targeted a company in India.
Thursday’s sanctions were similar in terms of the nature of the firms they targeted. The US Treasury Department described them as “an international network of companies involved in the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum products.”
Implications for Iranian Nuclear Deal
The flurry of US sanctions related to Iran announced this week underscores a point that Kurdistan 24 has made for the past month: the US and its European partners are no longer focused on restoring the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which was concluded under the Obama administration.
The US and its European allies now accept that Iran is not so interested in restoring that agreement. Moreover, they are dismayed at Iran’s support for Russia’s assault on Ukraine—which they view as the most immediate and pressing national security threat.
Finally, the widespread protests in Iran—which have now entered their third month—have underscored for them the malign nature of the Iranian regime.