Trump administration imposes sanctions on Iranian petrochemical group

Trump administration imposes sanctions on Iranian petrochemical group
© UPI Photo

The Trump administration on Friday announced fresh sanctions against Iran, targeting the country's largest petrochemical company for giving financial support to the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co. and 39 of its subsidiaries, stating that the company provides contracts to the financial arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a branch of Iran's armed forces.

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The administration said the petrochemical company and its subsidiaries are responsible for 40 percent of Iran's petrochemical production capacity and 50 percent of the country's petrochemical exports.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms Trump to tour Apple factory with Tim Cook on Wednesday The Hill's Morning Report — Public impeachment drama resumes today MORE said in a statement that sanctions against the petrochemical company would undermine the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

"This action is a warning that we will continue to target holding groups and companies in the petrochemical sector and elsewhere that provide financial lifelines to the IRGC," Mnuchin said.

The administration in April labeled the Revolutionary Guard a "foreign terrorist organization," the first time the United States has applied the designation to an entire government entity.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE and his advisers have taken a hard-line against Iran since withdrawing from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal. The administration has reimposed sanctions on Tehran's financial institutions and oil industry, and additionally targeted its metals industry and the Revolutionary Guard.

Trump asserted on Thursday during a meeting with French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronRussia vows to return seized warships to Ukraine NATO is not brain dead yet Trump, NATO chief to meet at White House MORE that the sanctions imposed by the U.S. have crippled Iran.

"They’re doing very poorly as a nation," Trump said. "They’re failing as a nation. And I don't want them to fail as a nation. We can turn that around very quickly, but the sanctions have been extraordinary how powerful they’ve been, and other things. I understand they want to talk and if they want to talk that’s fine."

Iranian leaders have given no indication they are open to negotiations with U.S. officials, and the two countries have no official diplomatic channels.

The Trump administration announced last month it will deploy 1,500 troops to the region, further escalating tensions.