Iran denounces ‘destructive’ US sanctions targeting oil trade

Iran this Tuesday slammed as new “destructive” US sanctions targeting its crucial energy sector and promised a response, at a time when nuclear talks have stalled for months.

US President Joe Biden’s administration “is not stopping this unproductive and destructive action even at a time when efforts are underway to resume negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal,” the spokesman said. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Kanani.

Iran will “show a firm and immediate response” to the sanctions announced the day before and “will take all necessary measures to neutralize” their potential impacts on the country’s trade, Kanani promised in a statement.

The US government blacklisted six companies on Monday that it says helped Iran export petrochemicals to East Asia to avoid sanctions against Tehran’s nuclear program.

Three Hong Kong-based trading companies and a company from the United Arab Emirates have been hit with US Treasury sanctions for helping Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. ship “millions of dollars” of oil and petrochemicals to anonymous buyers from East Asia, the Treasury said.

Additionally, the US State Department has blacklisted two shipping companies, based in China and Singapore, for helping organize the shipments.

The sanctions block all assets the entities own under US jurisdiction and prohibit US persons or entities from doing business with them, thereby restricting their access to the global financial system.

The move comes as talks in Vienna between Iran and several major powers, including the United States, to revive the frayed 2015 international deal on Iran’s nuclear program have stalled since March.

Last Tuesday, the EU’s foreign policy chief and coordinator of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Josep Borrell, submitted a new draft text and urged all parties to accept it or “risk a dangerous nuclear crisis”.

Kanani criticized the Biden administration for “continuing and even extending” the “failed” policies of his predecessor Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal in 2018.

Tehran, for its part, is gradually slipping away from its obligations.

Iran had expressed on Monday its “optimism” about the resumption of talks on the nuclear after the examination of the draft compromise of Borrell.