Iran sanctions lifted on three companies

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Because of good behavior, the Singaporean, Liberian and Monacan companies will be once again allowed to engage with the U.S. financial system and will be able to obtain loans and credits, the State Department announced on Friday.

Nearly two years ago, Tanker Pacific Management, Société Anonyme Monégasque D’Administration Maritime Et Aérienne and Allvale Maritime Inc. were blacklisted from the U.S. financial system for assisting the sale of a tanker to an Iranian company, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. The $8.65 million transaction violated the Iran Sanctions Act, and the State Department prevented the companies from interaction with American assets and exports.

Since then, the companies have taken "significant steps to ensure that their operations are in compliance with U.S. sanctions law and policy," according to State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell. "As a result, the Secretary of State has decided to lift sanctions at this time."

All three firms are indirectly owned by the Ofer Holdings Group, an Israeli company originally sanctioned for the firms' behavior in May, 2011. The announcement that the Ofer company would be sanctioned caused a brief stir in Israel until a clarification was issued in September of that year that it was the subsidiaries, not Ofer Holdings Group proper, that were being sanctioned.

Sanctions have been a critical tool of the Obama administration as it seeks to prevent Iran from constructing a nuclear weapon. The restrictions have sent the Iranian economy reeling and caused a rapid depreciation in the nation's currency, the rial.

Ventrell claimed the companies' changes in behavior "have demonstrated the success that sanctions can have at deterring irresponsible conduct."