Central US Sanctions India-Based Petrochemical Company for Trading Iranian Products

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The United States has imposed sanctions on an Indian petrochemical company, as well as seven other companies, for their involvement in the sale of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum products to customers in South and East Asia, according to a statement from the Department of the Treasury on Friday.

The statement mentioned that Tibalaji Petrochem Private Limited, based in India, has bought millions of dollars’ worth of petrochemical products brokered by Triliance, such as methanol and base oil, for shipment to China.

Tibalaji Petrochem Private Limited describes itself as a growing petrochemical trading company that has grown from a small trading house to a leading distributor of chemical, solvent, fertilizer, and polymer products in India, with an office in Bandra Kurla Complex.

The Treasury Department in Washington announced the sanctioning of an international network of companies involved in the sale of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum products to customers in South and East Asia.

The statement identified Iranian brokers and front companies in the UAE, Hong Kong, and India that have facilitated financial transactions and shipping of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products. These entities have helped conceal the origin of Iranian shipments and assisted sanctioned Iranian brokers in transferring funds and shipping products to buyers in Asia.

In addition to OFAC’s designations, the Department of State is designating two Chinese entities, Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co. Ltd. and WS Shipping Co. Ltd., for their role in Iran’s petrochemical trade.

Brian E Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, stated that the US is committed to restricting Iran’s illicit oil and petrochemical sales, and will continue to enforce sanctions until Iran fully complies with the JCPOA.

The Treasury Department’s actions mark the first instance of US sanctions against an India-based company in recent years. The decision comes after talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and senior US officials of the Biden Administration.

Iran used to be one of India’s top energy suppliers until May 2019 when India stopped buying Iranian oil to avoid US sanctions.

Commercial ties between India and Iran have mainly been focused on Indian imports of Iranian crude oil. In 2018-19, India imported $12.11 billion worth of crude oil from Iran.

However, after the SRE period ended on May 2, 2019, India halted crude imports from Iran, leading to a significant decrease in bilateral trade.

The US Treasury statement warned that sanctions on Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical sales will continue as Iran violates the JCPOA. The sanctions can be lifted if Iran complies with the agreement.

The statement also mentioned recent designations against law enforcement organizations and individuals responsible for human rights abuses in Iran, emphasizing the US’s commitment to enforcing sanctions against illegal sales and transactions.

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