Tuesday, May 17, 2022

US sanctions against former Iranian officials; Step called routine

The United States on Thursday said it had removed sanctions against three former Iranian officials and two companies that had previously traded Iranian petrochemicals. This is a move that one U.S. official called routine, but which could show the U.S. willingness to ease sanctions if justified.

The US official said on condition of anonymity that the steps taken by the US Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Management (OFAC) were not related to efforts to revive Iran’s and US compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal in Iran.

“OFAC and the Foreign Ministry also today impose sanctions on three former Iranian government officials and two companies previously involved in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transportation or marketing of Iranian petrochemical products,” the treasury said in a statement. a statement said. .

It said the delisting reflected a “verified change in behavior or status” of those approved and “the U.S. government’s commitment to lifting sanctions in the event of [such] a change. “

A Treasury spokesman said the three individuals had determined that they were no longer in their positions within entities affiliated with the Iranian government, and there was no reason to maintain sanctions against them.

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The oil market plunged briefly after media reports hit that sanctions against Iranian oil officials have been lifted, showing the potential impact of additional Iranian barrels if an agreement is reached and sanctions lifted.

US-Iran talks

U.S. and Iranian officials are expected to begin their sixth round of indirect talks in Vienna this weekend on how both parties can resume compliance with the nuclear deal, formally the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Under the agreement, Iran has curtailed its nuclear program to obtain nuclear material in exchange for easing US, EU and UN sanctions.

Former US President Donald Trump dropped the agreement in 2018, arguing that it gives Tehran too much sanction relief for too few nuclear restrictions, and has reintroduced sanctions that have reduced Iran’s oil exports.

Iran retaliated about a year later by violating the limits of its nuclear program.

Hope for negotiations

US President Joe Biden hopes to negotiate a reciprocal return to compliance, a task that requires defining the core limits that Iran will accept, US sanctions must be removed, and how to follow them.

Read Also:  Biden begins preparations to treat Iran

Asked about the talks, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters: “We have made progress, but, and you have heard it; challenges remain, and big business remains divided.”

The Treasury statement did not name the three former Iranian officials, or the two companies were deleted from their sanctions lists. OFAC, however, said on its website that it had removed three men from one of its sanctions lists: Ahmad Ghalebani, a managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company; Farzad Bazargan, Managing Director of Hong Kong Intertrade Company; Mohammad Moinie, a commercial director of Naftiran Intertrade Company Sarl.

OFAC said it had lifted some sanctions against Sea Charming Shipping Company Limited and Aoxing Ship Management Shanghai Limited.

“It’s just a Treasury decision in the normal course of business and has nothing to do with JCPOA,” said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, describing it as the “regular process of delisting when [the] facts so determined. ‘

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Nation World News Desk
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