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 MnuchinMnuchin: Trump's 'as determined as ever' on China trade fight Sunday shows preview: Trump ratchets up trade war with China The Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? 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 TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative 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 MacronTrump says it's 'certainly possible' Putin will be invited to next year's G-7 summit Iranian foreign minister arrives at site of G-7 summit Aides accuse Macron of seeking to embarrass Trump with G-7 focus on 'niche issues' 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.