The Treasury Department today announced new sanctions against four petrochemical companies in Hong Kong, China and the United Arab Emirates linked to the Iranian National Oil Company, as part of the strategy of economic suffocation of the government of Tehran.

“Iran’s petrochemical and oil sectors are a major source of funding for the Iranian regime’s global terrorist activities and facilitate its persistent use of violence against its own people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Treasury said these companies “have collectively transferred the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars in exports from the Iranian National Oil Company”.

The companies identified by Washington are Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd and Sage Energy HK Limited, both based in Hong Kong; Peakview Industry Co. Limited, based in Shanghai, China; and Beneathco DMCC, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

As a result of the Treasury measure, the assets that these corporations may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen and they are prohibited from making financial transactions with U.S. citizens.

Tehran and Washington, which has had no diplomatic relations since 1979, have experienced numerous crises since President Donald Trump ordered the government’s exit from the nuclear agreement signed with world powers in 2015. Since then, Washington has again imposed harsh sanctions on the Persian economy.

This January, the tension escalated to its highest point ever with the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US bombing in Baghdad, to which Tehran responded with an attack on a military base in Iraq with the presence of US troops.

The current tension coincides with the accidental shooting down by the Islamic Republic of a Ukrainian civilian aircraft, which caused the death of its 176 occupants.

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